GOP lawmaker calls on Pelosi to apologize for response to Trump contracting coronavirus

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) is calling on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to issue an apology for her comments following President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis, accusing her of “victim blaming.”  

Following the announcement early Friday that Trump had tested positive for COVID-19, Pelosi wished the president a safe recovery but noted that he has repeatedly been seen at events without a mask. She said he could have taken additional precautions to avoid contracting the virus.

“We all received that news with great sadness. I always pray for the president and his family that they’re safe,” she said during an appearance on MSNBC on Friday.  

“This is tragic. It’s very sad. But it also is something that, again, going into crowds, unmasked, and all the rest, was sort of a brazen invitation for something like this to happen,” she added.

In a letter sent to Pelosi, Banks said her remarks were “insensitive” and that it sounded like she was suggesting Trump deserved to contact coronavirus. 

“On Friday, after learning that the President of the United States tested positive for COVID-19, you responded: ‘This is tragic, this is very sad, but it is something that going into crowds, unmasked, and all the rest, was sort of a brazen invitation for this to happen,’” Banks wrote.  

“The insinuation that anyone would deserve to contract COVID-19 is offensive and shameful, and it’s especially insensitive to every single American whose family member or friend has perished because of this illness. That’s why we are writing to request you apologize to all those who have been directly affected by this devastating virus,” he added.

Banks went on to accuse Pelosi of not understanding the risks taken by front-line workers, arguing that by suggesting Trump was partially at fault for contracting the virus, she also insulted those who work in positions where they are potentially exposed to COVID-19.

“Madame Speaker, according to the LA Times, your minimum net worth is $16 million, and you’ve just taken out a $5 million mortgage in the last year. You and your husband Paul own at least nine properties, all of which are valued at $18 million,” he continued.  

“Accordingly, you may not understand the difficult position millions of Americans are in, having to choose between potentially exposing themselves and their families to the invisible threat of COVID-19 and bringing home income to pay the bills and put good food on the table. Since March, each day that a frontline worker has left their home to go to work, and they have had to carry the burden of risk of coming home to their loved ones with COVID-19,” he wrote.

“On behalf of those millions of Americans who have contracted this virus, I formally request an apology for insinuating that those suffering from this illness are somehow at fault for their pain. I also request that you not resort to victim-blaming during this difficult time in American history,” he added. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also took aim at Pelosi’s remarks, arguing she should focus on negotiating an additional COVID-19 relief package that can pass both chambers. 

“This is uncalled for, especially in this time and place,” he said during an appearance on Fox News on Sunday. 

“Other nations are watching America. This is the one time we could unite together. … [Trump] is sitting here trying to work with this Speaker to get a COVID relief package together, and these are the comments that she makes? It’s really unbecoming of that position.” 

Since the start of the pandemic, Democrats have repeatedly blasted the president’s response efforts and have taken aim at his comments on wearing masks and holding campaign rallies. 

In addition to the president and first lady Melania Trump, multiple White House officials, three GOP senators and a number of individuals who attended an outdoor ceremony where Trump announced Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee have tested positive for the virus.

While it cannot be confirmed the event held in the White House Rose Garden is where the individuals contracted the virus, a number of attendees were seen without masks or practicing social distancing. 

Tags Donald Trump Kevin McCarthy Melania Trump Nancy Pelosi
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