In an interview on Thursday, former Republican Congressman Newt Gingrich ripped into Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi over comments she recently made about President Donald Trump. Per The Hill, during an appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program, Gingrich described Pelosi as “despicable.”
“I think Pelosi has become despicable. I think that her comment the other day comparing President Trump to Nero fiddling while Rome burned was just utterly, totally irresponsible, dishonest, and counter to what Americans need,” said Gingrich, formerly a top Republican in the House.
“Americans need to come together to defeat the virus,” he added, arguing that politicians such as Pelosi are “trying to tear the country apart.” According to Gingrich, Pelosi “is an absolute negative figure dragging down the country.”
As the publication notes, in an interview on Sunday, Pelosi described Trump’s initial downplaying of the coronavirus as “deadly,” arguing that the federal government should have reacted much sooner. The president took note of Pelosi’s statements as well, attacking her during an interview with Fox News.
Speaking on Fox & Friends, Trump called Pelosi a disgrace, seemingly suggesting that the Democratic Party is to blame for the delayed response. According to the president, Pelosi and other Democrats were focused on his impeachment trial, so they were not paying attention to the exploding pandemic.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made a similar comment earlier this week, stating that impeachment “diverted the attention of the government” from the coronavirus pandemic. McConnell was widely criticized for his remarks, with Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin calling him “an idiot.” According to Pocan, Trump and other Republicans are to blame because they did not take the crisis seriously.
“But the reality is the president screwed up at multiple levels from the very beginning on testing, not accepting I think the World Health Organization tests, to not taking this is as real,” Pocan said, adding that some still believe coronavirus poses no threat to them because of the president’s reluctance to acknowledge the crisis early on.
As The Washington Post reported, Pelosi announced earlier today the creation of a new select House committee to oversee the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic. The committee, Pelosi said, will scrutinize the president’s management of the $2 trillion stimulus package recently passed by the United States Congress.
Democratic Rep. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina will chair the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus, as the speaker named it, but it remains to be seen which lawmakers will be appointed to serve on the panel. Trump has signaled that he is opposed to oversight, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — a key administration member — said on Thursday that the committee is unnecessary, claiming that sufficient oversight is baked into the legislation passed by Congress.