WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., excoriated President Donald Trump Wednesday morning for what she called his lack of preparation and poor handling of coronavirus testing across the country.
Pelosi said in an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that "if you do not test, you cannot possibly know the size of the challenge,” which she said is why testing is the key to reopening the U.S. economy.
"For our seniors in nursing homes and the rest, as you say, there's a big toll being taken there. But if we can test and contact and isolate people, we're on a very much better path," Pelosi said. "There's a Boy Scout saying, 'Proper preparation prevents poor performance.' Well, that is exactly where the president gets an F.”
“He was not properly prepared, not with the truth, with the facts, or the admission of what was happening in our country — delay, whatever, delay, denial, death,” she added. “And instead we'd like to see him insist on the truth and we must insist on the truth with him.”
The speaker said she wishes that Trump wouldn’t be an “agent of distraction" and suggested that his latest decision to suspend immigration into the U.S. is merely a “distraction from his failure on testing.”
Pelosi’s comments come as the House prepares to vote Thursday on an interim coronavirus relief bill to aid small businesses and hospitals, which will also allocate $25 billion for COVID-19 testing.
The Senate passed the nearly $500 billion interim bill on Tuesday, which includes additional money for the Paycheck Protection Program, a small-business loan program created in the last major stimulus package that ran out of money last week.
Scientists have debunked what some White House officials have said about needing only a certain level of testing, Pelosi said.
“We're never going to get there at the snail pace that they are putting forth,” she said. “But you have seen scientists outside, academics and the rest setting a standard three times higher than what the White House is talking about. So we have put the resources there. We're prepared to do more in terms of the testing in the next legislation.”
Governors have blasted Trump over his claims that the U.S. has been conducting a sufficient level of coronavirus testing. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, obtained half a million testing kits from South Korea because of the lack of access to testing domestically.
Trump said at Tuesday’s White House briefing that the U.S. “has tested more people than anybody anywhere in the world by far. By very far.” NBC News has repeatedly fact checked this statement. While the U.S. has run the highest number of raw tests, it has not conducted the most per capita.