Carson on coronavirus: Task force is not 'sugarcoating' messaging

Carson on coronavirus: Task force is not 'sugarcoating' messaging
© Greg Nash

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben CarsonBen CarsonRace is not central to Rittenhouse case — but the media shout it anyway Trump endorses primary challenger to Peter Meijer in Michigan Sunday shows preview: Frustration runs high as infrastructure talks hit setback MORE, a member of the administration's coronavirus task force, told House members Wednesday the administration is not “sugarcoating” coronavirus messaging. 

Carson's statement regarding the coronavirus and the administration's task force came during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing to discuss the HUD budget.

During the hearing, Carson was questioned by Appropriations subcommittee on housing and urban development Chairman David PriceDavid Eugene PriceOvernight Defense & National Security — Biden officials consider more Ukraine aid Biden, first lady have 'Friendsgiving' meal with military troops Texas Democrat Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson announces retirement at end of term MORE (D-N.C.) who asked, "Can you assure us that you and the task force will be supporting the recommendations of public health professionals and ensure that our public response and public communication about the response are based on the facts and science?"

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Carson responded, saying, “We want to make sure it’s completely transparent, it's not sugar-coated, it’s not used in any way as a political tool." 

The line of question comes as concerns over messaging have risen due to the administration’s characterization of the virus that, at times, differs from the scientific community. 

Last week, president Trump announced that Vice President Pence would be leading the task force, drawing criticism from Democrats who feel his experience is inadequate. Pence’s office is managing communication and media inquiries for the task force as well.

Wednesday was not the first time Democrats took advantage of an unrelated hearing to press the administration on its response to the virus.

At a hearing about U.S. strategy in Iran, Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuHamlin opens up on playing anthrax-era Tom Brokaw Omar offers joint resolution to block 0M weapons sale to Saudis Pelosi calls for ethics, criminal investigations into Gosar MORE (D-Calif.) confronted Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoNo time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Psaki: Sexism contributes to some criticism of Harris Mnuchin, Pompeo mulled plan to remove Trump after Jan. 6: book MORE, asking him if he believes "the coronavirus is a hoax."

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"Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE's chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick MulvaneyJan. 6 committee issues latest round of subpoenas for rally organizers The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - To vote or not? Pelosi faces infrastructure decision Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 11, including Pierson, other rally organizers MORE told the Conservative Political Action Conference [CPAC] that the coronavirus was the hoax of the day," Lieu said. "Do you agree with Donald Trump's chief of staff Mulvaney that the coronavirus is the hoax of the day?"

Pompeo refused to answer the question, stating he is not "going to comment on what others are saying," calling Lieu's question "not useful."

Lieu went on to call it "shameful" that Pompeo wouldn't say coronavirus is not a hoax, while scolding Pompeo for attending CPAC later in the day.