(CNSNews.com) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) held a street party in Chinatown in San Francisco at the end of February a month after President Donald Trump banned travel from China, the president pointed out Monday at the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing.
Trump was responding to a question about his early response to the coronavirus outbreak.
“The second question I had was about your language and how you approached the coronavirus at the beginning. I interviewed someone who said that his family got sick. They went to a funeral in mid-March, and they said mainly because the President wasn’t taking it seriously. He said, ‘If the president had had a mask on, if he was saying we should stay home, then I would have stayed home.’ … He said his family members were sick because they were listening to you. Do you feel like or are you concerned that downplaying the virus maybe got some people sick?’ “PBS NewsHour” White House Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor asked.
TRUMP: And a lot of people love Trump, right? A lot of people love me. You see them all the time, right? I guess I’m here for a reason, you know? To the best of my knowledge, I won, and I think we’re going to win again. I think we’re going to win in a landslide, but just so you understand, you’re talking about March, right?
ALCINDOR: Yeah, but this is —
TRUMP: And yet — excuse me. Excuse me,
ALCINDOR: — this is an American that’s concerned.
TRUMP: I know. I understand, and yet, in January, a certain date — you know the date better than I do — we put on a ban of China, where China can’t come in, and before March, we put on a ban on Europe, where Europe can’t come in. So how could you say I wasn’t taking it seriously?
You know, I put on a ban on China before anybody in this country died. I put on a ban, and so you tell me. Nancy Pelosi was having — she wanted to have a street party in Chinatown in San Francisco at the end of February. That’s a month later, and then they tell me it’s only a political talking point, but you feed into it, because you’re too good a reporter to let that happen. Really, you are a good reporter. You’re too good a reporter to let that happen.
Remember this: So at the end of January, I put on a ban. People that were in that room will tell you — I think there were 21 people — I was the only one in the whole room that wanted to do it. Fortunately, I was the one that counted for that purpose. We put on a ban because I was reading bad things about China. World Health Organization should have told us, but I was reading it, with or without them.
They should have known. All they had to do is read it. They didn’t have to even be there, but they tried to cover up for China — World Health covered up for China.
ALCINDOR: But you did hold — you held rallies in February and March.
TRUMP: But — no, no. Wait, but you can’t say this. Look, I put on a ban. In other words, I stopped China from coming to the United States. I stopped Europe from coming into the United States, long before the March date that you’re talking about. So people should say I acted very early. That was a very hard thing to do. Doing that was a very hard thing. I didn’t want to do that.
ALCINDOR: But you held rallies in February and March.
TRUMP: But I did it because I thought — and Dr. Fauci said that, by doing it, President Trump saved tens of thousands of lives. So I did take it very seriously.
ALCINDOR: You held rallies in February and in March, and there are some Americans saying —
TRUMP: Oh, I don’t know — I don’t know about rallies. I really don’t know about rallies.
ALCINDOR: You had about five rallies in February.
TRUMP: I know one thing: I haven’t left the White House in months, except for a brief moment to give a wonderful ship, the Comfort —
ALCINDOR: You held a rally in March.
TRUMP: I don’t know. Did I hold a rally? I’m sorry I hold a rally. Did I hold a rally? Let me tell you, in January, when I did this, you had virtually no cases and no deaths, and yet I put it on. So how could I not?
Why was Nancy Pelosi — right? — Nancy Pelosi is holding a street fair. She wants a street fair in San Francisco, in Chinatown, to prove — you know what the purpose of it was — to prove that there’s no problem. Many other politicians did the same thing. … People are amazed at how early I acted, and I did act early. With that being said, it’s very hard to say, ‘Let’s close down the greatest economy in the history of the world.’ I had it closed down.
Pelosi has been critical of Trump for what she said was time lost in January and February in responding to the virus.
In an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Pelosi was asked about her decision to go on “a walking tour of Chinatown to try to promote tourism there” on Feb. 24.
In February, Pelosi said, “That's what we're trying to do today is to say, everything is fine here. Come, because precautions have been taken. We think it's very safe to be in Chinatown and hope that others will come.”
“If the president underplayed the threat in the early days, Speaker Pelosi, didn't you as well?” Wallace asked Pelosi on Sunday.
PELOSI: No. What we're trying to do is to end the discrimination, the stigma, that was going out against the Asian-American community. In fact, if you will look the record will show that our Chinatown has been a model of containing and -- and preventing the virus.
So I'm confident in our folks there and thought it was necessary to offset some of the things that the president and others were saying about Asian- Americans and making them a target. A target of violence across the country -- hate crimes --
WALLACE: But forgive me, don't you think -- don't you think that you -- you -- when you're about walking without any mask, I understand this is February not April when this happened and saying that there's no threat. It's perfectly safe there. Weren't you also adding to this perception that there wasn't such a threat generally?
PELOSI: No. I was saying that you should not discriminate against -- discriminate against Chinese-Americans as some in our administration were doing by the way they were labeling the flu and that, no indeed. And again, I think you -- if you check the record and it's current you will see that our -- that Chinatown has been a model in all of this. And so, what we're saying, look to them for answers, don't look to them to place blame.
WALLACE: As you know, protests against the stay-at-home orders are growing across the country. People are taking to the streets, pushing back against some of the more stringent restrictions in some states. Can you understand why they're doing that?
PELOSI: No, not really. Because what we have to do is shelter- in- place. That is really the answer. Testing, tracing, treatment, shelter- in-place, and I do think that it's unfortunate -- but you know people will do what they do, but the fact is we're all impatient. We all want out but what they're doing is really unfortunate because what is great though is the America -- are the American people. The American people know that the good health of themselves and their families and their loved ones is what is important and that's why you have seen such an overwhelming commitment to shelter-in- place, distancing -- people distancing.
Because really it is the key to how we will open up our economy. The health issue is the key to opening up the economy. Unfortunately, this -- what you see there is, you know, they're not (ph) respectful to whatever people think that they should say, but the fact is, this has to be science-based, evidence-based, data-based and evidence and the science and the data says shelter-in-place, testing, contact testing -- tracing, treatment, quarantine is the answer to opening up our economy sooner, and I think, by the way, if I just may add. I do think it is a major distraction from testing, testing, testing.
And so, does it serve as a distraction? Yes, but that's not what this is about. We're supposed to be focusing on getting over this so that we can open up our economy, the sooner the better. And I'm proud of the American people because by and large, they have embraced that.