Speaking to reporters gathered in the Capitol Building, the top Democrat argued that Trump is blaming China for the COVID-19 outbreak in order to shift attention away from his administration’s failures.
“What the president is saying about China is interesting — it’s an interesting diversion.”
In recent weeks, Trump’s attacks on Beijing have intensified. The president has repeatedly suggested that China — where the coronavirus is thought to have originated — could have prevented the outbreak. Trump has also compared the spread of the virus to the Pearl Harbor and September 11 attacks. He has threatened to “cut off” all ties with China.
Trump’s attacks echo the criticism expressed by a number of leading Republicans. Notably, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has called on the United States to “sanction the hell out of China for spreading pandemics.” Texas Senator Ted Cruz has also railed against the Chinese government, stating that the country should be treated as America’s “greatest geopolitical threat.”
According to Pelosi, instead of analyzing the beginnings of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, lawmakers should focus on the future.
“We should be using our energy on how we go forward [instead of] making judgments about what his administration did or didn’t do. We’re talking about going forward. There will be plenty of time for after-action review.”
The House speaker called on Democrats and Republicans to put partisanship aside and work together to address the crises caused by COVID-19.
House Democrats have called for additional economic stimulus measures. On Friday, the lower chamber will move forward with a $3 trillion relief package. The legislation proposes additional funds for states, medical professionals, businesses, and workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While it is expected to pass the Democrat-controlled House, the legislation is not expected to stand a chance in the GOP-controlled Senate. Republicans have expressed opposition to additional relief, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hitting the pause button.
Pelosi pushed back against McConnell’s suggestion, arguing that Americans need urgent action from Congress.
“He wants us to just pause. But families know that hunger doesn’t take a pause, not having a job doesn’t take a pause, not being able to pay the rent doesn’t take a pause.”
Dubbed the HEROES Act (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act), the House Democrats’ bill would also protect renters and homeowners, aid indebted students, and expand vital programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.