House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) likely knew that Donald Trump would not react well when she attacked the president for actively spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 virus — and expressed a lack of confidence in one of his chief medical advisors, Dr. Deborah Birx, for failing to aggressively counter Trump’s self-serving lies.
The San Francisco representative didn’t know that the critique she gave as part of her interview on ABC‘s This Week yesterday would motivate the president to pen a testy tweet calling her “Crazy Nancy” and throwing Dr. Birx under the bus for seemingly responding to the House Speaker’s comments with a more realistic view of our nation’s pandemic prognosis.
Apparently it wouldn’t have made a difference if Pelosi had known what Trump’s reaction would be, since she doubled down on her assessment of the complicit role that Dr. Birx plays in enabling the president’s dissemination of a false picture of the progression of the deadly disease and the administration’s lackluster efforts to contain it.
Speaker Pelosi had this to say to CNN‘s Jim Sciutto today as she continued her attacks on the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator:
“I don’t have confidence in anyone who stands there while the president says, swallow Lysol, it’s going to cure your virus. It’ll kill you and you won’t have the virus anymore,” Pelosi told Sciutto.
“There has to be some responsibility. So if the president is saying these things, who’s advising him that this is OK and enabling that to happen while millions of people have died?” the Speaker said.
Pelosi told CNN today that Birx’s name came up while she was negotiating a new relief package with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows during a discussion about contact tracing.
“What happened is that we had a conversation about how we stop the virus. And when we did, they were making contentions about how tracing isn’t a valuable thing, we shouldn’t do it. I said, well that’s not what most scientists say. And they said, well we’ll bring a scientist to say that. I said, sure, [if] it’s not Dr. Birx,” Pelosi said.
Even more frightening than the lack of confidence that the top Democrat in Congress has in one of Trump’s top medical advisors is the fact that people like Mnuchin and Meadows are denying the efficacy of contact tracing as a tool to use to combat the spread of the disease.
This is particularly concerning since it is only those countries that have adopted strict quarantine measures, enacted facial mask requirements, and implemented well-executed contact tracing programs that have been able to avoid the kind of runaway infection levels that the United States has experienced under Trump’s lack of leadership.
As the Trump administration and the Republican party begin their collapse into infighting and acrimony, Speaker Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues have a massive electoral victory in their sights.
With even control of the Senate within the Democrats’ reach now, we can soon look forward to a time when those who work in the government at least seem to agree to a shared reality with the rest of the population.
Original reporting by Cristina Marcos at The Hill.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.