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Pelosi Invokes Language of Watergate, Suggesting Trump Coronavirus Response Investigation


In recent interviews, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has employed words made famous during the Watergate hearings in reference to President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, suggesting a congressional investigation into his conduct will occur.

On Sunday, Pelosi accused Trump of not working urgently enough to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We should be taking every precaution. What the president — his denial at the beginning was deadly,” Pelosi told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”


The speaker then referenced one of the most noteworthy questions asked during the 1973 Watergate impeachment hearings against then-President Richard Nixon: “What did the president know and when did he know it?”

“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,” Pelosi said.


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“But as the president fiddles, people are dying. And we just have to take every precaution,” she added.

Pelosi asked the same question Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe, wondering what and when scientists were advising Trump about COVID-19.

Republican National Committee spokeswoman Elizabeth Harrington responded to Pelosi’s interview, tweeting, “Democrats are so impeachment obsessed, Pelosi is trying to turn a virus from Wuhan into Watergate.”


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“‘What did he know & when did he know it?’ Is she talking about Xi?” Harrington continued. “POTUS mobilized CDC, created task force, and stopped travel, while Dems wasted our time on a Ukraine witch hunt.”

On Jan. 31, Trump announced the then-controversial decision to ban flights coming out of China into the United States, making the U.S. one of the first nations to do so, according to a CNN timeline.

The move came 10 days after officials confirmed the first American case of the virus.

That same week, the president established a coronavirus task force to monitor the unfolding public health situation.

Even as the news coming out of China worsened, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were pushing for additional witnesses and documents to be included in Trump’s impeachment trial, which would have resulted in the proceedings continuing for weeks or perhaps months.


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Following Pelosi’s Sunday CNN interview, the president called her a “sick puppy” and a “disgrace” in response to her claim his administration is costing people’s lives.

He accused her of playing a political “game.”

“It’s a sad thing,” Trump told Fox News.

“She’s a sick puppy, in my opinion. She really is. She’s got a lot of problems, and that’s a horrible thing to say especially when … I stopped some very, very infected, very, very sick people, thousands coming in from China.”

“She was playing the impeachment game, her game where she ended up looking like a fool,” he added.

By invoking the language of Watergate, Pelosi may be seeking to shift the coronavirus narrative.

Recent polling shows a majority of Americans support Trump’s handling of the outbreak.

A Gallup poll released last week found 60 percent approve of the president’s COVID-19 efforts, including 27 percent of Democrats in the survey.

Similarly, an ABC News/Washington Post poll published late last week showed Trump with 51 percent approval and 45 percent disapproval in his handling of the crisis.

Additionally, for the first time in ABC News/Washington Post polling conducted during Trump’s presidency, a majority of Americans approve of his overall job performance: 48 to 46 percent.

Story cited here.

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