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Coronavirus: Nancy Pelosi condemns Trump's ‘deadly’ delay in response to Covid-19 pandemic

The Independent logo The Independent 29/03/2020 Danielle Zoellner
Pier Angeli et al. posing for the camera © Provided by The Independent

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has said President Trump's inaction during the coronavirus pandemic was "deadly" and cost American lives.

The Democrat appeared on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday and was asked about the Trump administration's response to the novel virus, which she said was inadequate from the beginning.

"The president, his denial at the beginning, was deadly," Ms Pelosi said.

"His delaying of getting equipment to where it continued - his continued delay in getting equipment to where it's needed is deadly," she added. "Now the best thing to do would be to prevent more loss of life rather than open things up, because we just don't know. We have to have testing, testing, testing."

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Asked by CNN's Jake Tapper on if the speaker was insinuating the president downplaying Covid-19 "cost Americans lives", Ms Pelosi said: "Yes I am. I'm saying that."

The speaker was concerned with how much Mr Trump knew before any regulations or restrictions were put in place by the federal government.

"I don't know what the scientists said to him, when did this president know about this, and what did he know? What did he know and when did he know it? That's for an after-action review," she said. "But as the president fiddles, people are dying. And we just have to take every precaution."

Early into the pandemic, Mr Trump played down the virus and how it could impact people living in the US. At one point, he said the 15 confirmed cases would soon get "close to zero".

Confirmed cases across the US have since climbed to more than 125,000 people infected with the novel virus and 2,197 deaths.

The president has yet to respond to Ms Pelosi's attack on Sunday through Twitter, which is his medium-of-choice when addressing criticisms. But his son Donald Trump Jr tweeted against the speaker for her biting words.

"Don't try to rewrite history @SpeakerPelosi. When POTUS went on offense to combat coronavirus & banned travel from China, not only did you & your friends in Congress + media attack him for doing so, you were literally focusing all of your energy on a phony impeachment," he wrote.

The federal government's 15-day social distancing regulations will expire this week, and the Trump administration has yet to reveal plans to extend these restrictions.

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