Nancy Pelosi slams Trump for considering loosening coronavirus social distancing guidelines: 'As the president fiddles, people are dying'

Nancy Pelosi
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday criticized President Donald Trump's response to the coronavirus outbreak, calling it "deadly."
  • Her comments come amid reports the White House Coronavirus Task Force will recommend a pathway for re-opening shuttered businesses and schools in portions of the country.
  • Trump has previously said he hopes to get portions of the country re-opened by Easter.
  • "His delaying of getting equipment - he continues to delay getting equipment - where it is needed is deadly, and now I think the best thing to do is to prevent more loss of life rather than open things up," Pelosi told CNN.
  • Pelosi also implied Trump's coronavirus response will be subjected to an "after-action" review: "What did he know and when did he know it?" she said.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Sunday criticized the president's response to the coronavirus outbreak, and in particular, his repeated claims that he hopes to soon relax social distancing guidelines.

"The president's denial at the beginning was deadly," Pelosi told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union." "His delaying of getting equipment - he continues to delay getting equipment - where it is needed is deadly, and now I think the best thing to do is to prevent more loss of life rather than open things up." Advertisement

The Washington Post on Sunday reported that Vice President Mike Pence, the leader of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, would later Sunday bring to the president recommendations on whether to re-open some shuttered areas. 

CNN's Nick Valencia tweeted Sunday that an official privy to the plans of the task force said that members planned to offer the president guidelines that created somewhat of a middle ground between those, like Trump, who want to reopen businesses to bolster the economy, and those, like his own health experts, who warn prematurely opening businesses and other public spaces could hinder efforts to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases. 

 
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The proposed recommendations would reportedly call for cities to meet particular "benchmarks" before they can begin to re-open businesses and schools, Valencia tweeted Sunday. The plans would reportedly recommend that at-risk individuals continue to telework, but those who are considered "healthy" would be asked to "phase back into the workplace," the CNN journalist tweeted.

Areas like Manhattan in New York City, which has been hardest hit by the novel coronavirus in the US, would not be impacted by the new guidelines, an official told Valencia. As he noted, the guidelines stand as recommendations, and it would be up to President Trump to decide whether to implement them."We all have to get smart," Trump said when on the phone with governors on March 26, a recording of which was obtained by The Associated Press. "We have to open up our country, I'm sorry."Advertisement

The president has said he hopes to get the country closer to normal operations by Easter. On Saturday, Trump said weighed placing New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut on an "enforceable quarantine," but later backtracked

 

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As she called for more coronavirus testing, Pelosi told Tapper she didn't understand the "purpose" of the president's actions including "his denial at the beginning" of the outbreak and delaying equipment, she said. 

US intelligence agencies were warning President Donald Trump about an impending pandemic as early as January, The Washington Post recently reported. According to the report, officials were giving Trump classified briefings on the matter at the same time that the president was publicly downplaying the risk of the novel coronavirus and insisting the US was well prepared to handle the outbreak.

"I don't know what the scientists said to him," she said. "But as the president fiddles, people are dying, and we just have to take every precaution."Advertisement

Pelosi also implied Trump's handling of the coronavirus response could be under review.

"When did this president know about this, and what did he know?" she told Tapper. "That's for an after-action review."

The president tweeted Sunday morning that he would hold a press conference on the novel coronavirus at 5 p.m.Advertisement

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