Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday railed against Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) after she said President Trump’s response to the coronavirus outbreak was having deadly consequences.
“She’s blaming the president of the United States for people dying because of the way he’s led the country,” Graham, a vocal Trump ally, said on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures.” “That’s the most shameful, disgusting statement by any politician in modern history.”
Speaking earlier on CNN, Pelosi said Trump’s lack of aggressive action was having severe effects throughout the United States. She said Trump’s initial downplaying of the disease and his delay in coordinating a response proved to have “deadly” impacts.
“His denial at the beginning was deadly. His delaying of getting equipment … to where it is needed is deadly,” Pelosi said, stressing that social distancing requirements should remain intact as states attempt to slow the rapid spread of the disease.
The U.S. had confirmed more than 125,000 cases of the novel coronavirus as of Sunday afternoon, according to a Johns Hopkins University database, the most worldwide. The disease has so far accounted for more than 2,000 deaths.
Asked for her thoughts on the Trump administration’s consideration of relaxing social distancing requirements in certain parts of the U.S., Pelosi emphasized that the nation should be “taking every precaution.”
“As the president fiddles, people are dying. We just have to take every precaution,” she said.
Graham accused Pelosi of being the “the first politician to blame another politician for people dying,” claiming that the pandemic had brought out the “best of America from our citizens.”
He also slammed Pelosi and other Democratic lawmakers over the goals they laid out for the mammoth stimulus package Congress approved last week.
“This is the same Speaker of the House who held up the bill in the Senate for days because she wanted same-day voting. She wanted carbon neutrality for the airlines,” Graham said. “She is the one that held up the package in the Senate for days. … So it’s the most shameful, disgusting thing I have heard yet, and it needs to stop.”
“The Speaker is focused on defeating this virus and getting the job done for the American people,” Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, told The Hill. “Facts and science must guide our efforts to confront this pandemic – not blind political allegiance to the President.”
Trump on Friday signed a $2 trillion economic relief package that will allocate funds to businesses and citizens grappling with the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. The bill includes one-time $1,200 payments to many Americans as well as a $377 billion fund to aid small businesses and $100 billion for hospitals, among other things.
The relief bill came as confirmed coronavirus cases continued to climb in the country, straining resources in many states’ hospital systems. Governors throughout the nation have warned of shortages in ventilators and intensive care unit beds and have pushed the administration for more help in acquiring needed equipment.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the faces of the coronavirus task force, said on Sunday that the outbreak would demand social distancing requirements for an extended period of time. He also predicted that the virus could lead to millions of cases in the U.S. and account for between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths.