House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) defended her promotion of tourism as the CCP virus spread around the world, claiming it wasn’t the same as President Donald Trump allegedly downplaying the illness.
Pelosi visited San Francisco’s Chinatown on Feb. 24, urging people to frequent restaurants and other businesses in the area.
Video footage showed a crowd of business owners, local officials, and others walking with Pelosi as she toured the neighborhood. The lawmaker told reporters in Washington a few days later that she wanted to instill “confidence, not fear, in terms of the virus.”
Pelosi has in recent weeks criticized Trump, saying he acted late on the virus and tried downplaying the illness.
During her first appearance on “Fox News Sunday” in years, Pelosi on April 19 was challenged to explain her promotion of tourism in Chinatown.
“If the president underplayed the threat in the early days, Speaker Pelosi, didn’t you as well?” host Chris Wallace asked.
“No. What we’re trying to do is to end the discrimination, the stigma, that was going out against the Asian-American community,” she answered. “In fact, if you will look the record will show that our Chinatown has been a model of containing and—and preventing the virus.”
The trip was made several weeks before San Francisco Mayor London Breed ordered a lockdown but several weeks after Trump ordered most travel from China to be halted. The president has faced criticism for continuing to attend rallies and other public events into March. COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on March 11.
Pelosi said she visited Chinatown and asked people to follow her lead “to offset some of the things that the president and others were saying about Asian-Americans and making them a target.” Some lawmakers have claimed Trump referring to the virus as the “Chinese virus” was racist and invited reprisals against Asians.
Wallace noted that Pelosi had no protective gear on as she toured Chinatown, such as a mask. “Weren’t you also adding to this perception that there wasn’t such a threat generally?” he asked.
“No. I was saying that you should not discriminate against Chinese-Americans as some in our administration were doing by the way they were labeling the flu and that, no indeed,” Pelosi said. She urged Wallace to “check the record,” adding: “our Chinatown has been a model in all of this.”
Breed announced the lockdown on San Francisco on March 17, one of the first of such orders in the nation. California Gov. Gavin Newsom followed suit later in the month. Both lockdowns remain in place. San Francisco has 1,157 confirmed COVID-19 cases and just 20 deaths have been attributed to the disease, out of a population of some 883,000.
Pelosi said twice during the interview that Trump shouldn’t seek to blame outside parties amid the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump and administration officials have repeatedly pointed to the Chinese Communist Party covering up details about the virus. Internal documents obtained by The Epoch Times show party officials manipulated figures, including cases and deaths.
The president has also paused funding to the World Health Organization, a United Nations group closely linked with China.
“And so, what we’re saying, look to them for answers,” Pelosi said. “Don’t look to them to place blame.”