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 CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonCOVID-19 makes Trump's work with black Americans that much harder Sunday shows preview: Congress spars over next round of coronavirus relief; GOP seeks offensive after news of Flynn 'unmasking' On The Money: Small business loan program out of money | Lawmakers at impasse over new funds | Senate adjourns for week with no deal | Trump to leave decision on reopening economies with governors 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 PriceNational service will give thousands of Americans a chance to recover and rebuild their communities Members of House GOP leadership self-quarantining after first lawmakers test positive FAA chief: Coronavirus risk 'no higher' on planes 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?"


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. LieuTed Lieu responds to viral video: 'Costco has a right to require that customers wear a mask' Bipartisan Senate group offers new help to state, local governments California Democrat blasts Huntington Beach protesters: They 'undoubtedly spread the virus' MORE (D-Calif.) confronted Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoGrassley: White House 'failed to address' if there was a 'good reason' for IG firings Overnight Defense: Pentagon watchdog sidelined by Trump resigns | Plan would reportedly bring troops in Afghanistan back by Election Day | Third service member dies from COVID-19 Ex-Pompeo staffers asked to sign letter against 'smear campaign' MORE, asking him if he believes "the coronavirus is a hoax."


"Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice says it will recommend Trump veto FISA bill Fauci: Nominating conventions may be able to go on as planned Poll: Biden leads Trump by 11 points nationally MORE's chief of staff Mick MulvaneyMick Mulvaney12 things to know today about coronavirus Mulvaney: 'We've overreacted a little bit' to coronavirus The Memo: Trump agenda rolls on amid pandemic 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.