Coronavirus: Trump is forcing doctors to decide who lives or dies and can do ‘much more’ to protect medics, Pelosi says

Does Congress deserve blame for slow federal pandemic response? ‘None at all,’ Democratic speaker claims

John T. Bennett
Washington
Tuesday 31 March 2020 14:20
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Trump brags about his daily briefings on coronavirus getting better ratings than 'The Bachelor'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed Donald Trump for what she called his resistance to “do much more” to protect medical workers from contracting coronavirus.

The California Democrat also raised concerns about doctors being told, in some areas, to make abrupt life-and-death decisions, and panned the president for not doing more to ramp up testing faster.

“We’re asking people to make a judgement on who gets a ventilator,” she said. “That should not be happening.”

Ms Pelosi did applaud Mr Trump for reversing course on opening parts of the country by 12 April, saying without such changes by the administration “there will be more deaths.”

Thought Mr Trump has been widely panned for saying he takes no responsibility for the outbreak in the United States, the speaker was asked on “Morning Joe” if Congress has any responsibility for the slow and uneven federal response.

“None at all,” she replied.

But Republicans and the president have criticised her for, in their view, holding up by a few days or a week a $2.2trn economic recovery bill that Mr Trump signed into law on Friday. GOP negotiators claim she came into the talks at the last minute and insisted on a number of items for her far-left faction.

“Well, you know, it’s a sad thing. Look, she’s a sick puppy, in my opinion,” Mr Trump said on Monday. “She really is. She’s got a lot of problems.”

“So they have the House. So they come into us at the last minute, Pelosi, we actually had a deal done with Schumer and everybody,” Mr Trump said, referring to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “It was really a much better visually, a much better deal.”

Amid their latest public spat – despite no longer speaking to one another – the speaker accused Mr Trump of not listening to his scientific team earlier.

She contended Congress has been “a force” in responding to the outbreak. Mr Trump has called the legislative branch too slow and focused on politics.

Ms Pelosi said Congress can “only go as fast as the signature,” meaning Mr Trump’s negotiators being clear on what he would and would not sign. He says she upends negotiations with late demands.

She contends that “rather than spending time on the president, because he will do what he does,” lawmakers will “have to be guided by science.” Mr Trump contends he is taking the advice of his top medical and health experts, like Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx.

Ms Pelosi, however, said she is unsure why “scientists didn’t have more sway with the president from the start.”

The president responded to her in typical fashion, on Twitter, writing that despite “her usual complaining that I’m a terrible person, she wasn’t bad.”

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