WASHINGTON—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says President Donald Trump’s criticism of China for the pandemic is an attempt to divert attention from domestic issues.
“What the president is saying about China is interesting. It’s an interesting diversion,” she said at a May 14 press conference, in response to a question by The Epoch Times about whether the regime in Beijing should be held accountable for the delayed COVID-19 response.
“Right now, our focus should be on meeting the needs of the American people,” she said.
“There’ll be plenty of time for an after-action review,” she noted. And it’s “urgent and needed” for scientists “to trace the origins of such a pandemic scientifically, but not politically.”
Pelosi also urged lawmakers to focus their “energy on how we go forward [instead of] making judgments about what this administration did or didn’t do.”
Trump has repeatedly criticized Beijing for mishandling the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus. He described the pandemic as the “worst attack” the United States has ever endured.
“It was either stupidity, incompetence or it was deliberate, one or the other,” Trump told Maria Bartiromo on May 14 in an interview for Fox Business Network. “But you know the worst of all, whether it came from the lab or came from the bats, it all came from China. And they should’ve stopped it. They could have stopped at that source.”
The virus has sickened more than 1.47 million people in the United States and killed more than 89,000 as of May 17.
Public opinion in the United States has shifted drastically against the Chinese regime after the pandemic. In a recent poll, Americans reported bipartisan distrust of the Chinese regime for its handling of the outbreak.
A Harris Poll survey conducted from March 14 to April 5 showed that 77 percent of Americans blame Beijing for the spread of the virus. The belief was echoed across the political spectrum, as 67 percent of Democrats, 75 percent of independents, and 90 percent of Republicans think the Chinese regime is responsible.
The state attorneys general in Missouri and Mississippi have filed lawsuits against Beijing over its coverup of the virus, while several U.S. law firms have begun class-action lawsuits.
Beijing’s early coverup is well-documented. In late December, for example, Chinese authorities silenced eight doctors who took to Chinese social media to warn people about a new form of pneumonia spreading in Wuhan.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) criticized Democrats for blaming Trump instead of China.
“Not one Democrat has come forward with an idea to hold China accountable,” Graham told Fox News on May 3.
There’s a growing call from Republicans to make China pay for damages caused by the pandemic. House Republicans on May 7 launched a “China Task Force” to investigate Beijing’s role in the spread of the virus.
Rather than pointing at China, Pelosi urged Washington to focus on the reopening of the economy safely.
“Instead of diverting attention from mistakes that may have been made here, let’s just put that all aside and go forward for what we can do, working together for the good of the American people.”
House Democrats on May 15 approved a $3 trillion coronavirus aid package that includes another direct payment to each American, as well as nearly $1 trillion for state and local governments. The measure was approved by a vote of 208–199, over the opposition of Republicans as well as some moderate and progressive Democrats. It faces