On Monday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden from her home to encourage national focus to remain on scientific evidence and testing rather than President Donald Trump’s dogmatic campaign of misinformation. During the lengthy segment, where Pelosi sat in front of her fridge and shared that she was quarantining with her grandchildren in California, a quite serene Pelosi denounced Trump's tactics while covering the novel coronavirus outbreaking, calling his strategies “dangerous” and “really scary.”
“If you’re not evidence-based, if you’re not science-based, you have the luxury of just saying whatever you feel like,” Pelosi told Corden. “And that luxury is one our country can no longer afford because it is, again, dangerous.” Pelosi went on to say that while she cannot understand why Trump chooses to do certain things, she questions the people who stand with him in support while he spreads information that directly contradicts publicly available data and the constitution.
“We insist on the truth, and what the President is saying is not true. Because someone has to unravel those falsehoods that, again, he says with absolute certainty,” Pelosi continued. “And people standing around him acquiescing to it. What? Doesn’t anybody know or care or have any commitment to science and evidence and data and fact and truth? This is where we are now.”
On Monday, Trump falsely tweeted that it is in the president’s power alone to reopen states and lift state-implemented shelter in place orders — a statement which political pundits, and even Trump's own supporters, were quick to rebuke. Trump continues to tout plans to reopen the country's economic safeguards — like non-essential businesses — despite recommendations from task force specialists including Dr. Anthony Fauci. The president also found himself in hot water again when retweeting that he would oust Fauci after the infectious disease specialists disagreed with his public statements. Still, Trump presents an unwavering front, absent of data, and is continuing with assembling a "Council To Reopen America."
As COVID-19 continues to decimate the U.S. economy, the pressure to reopen businesses is palpable. In the last three weeks, just over 17 million people filed for unemployment as companies deemed non-essential fired or furloughed employees in record numbers. While there is a clear and dire need to reopen the economy so people can start to financially recover from the pandemic, experts are shedding light on serious tradeoffs and the risk of preventable deaths should it reopen too quickly. Pelosi says that she now feels a responsibility to speak out against Trump's repeated actions that defy expert recommendations on leading the country out of the pandemic.
Throughout the interview, Pelosi and Corden question not whether Trump is ignoring scientific evidence but why he is unequivocally choosing to not base his answers or plans around it. They go as far as to describe Trump as having an aversion to listening to experts. “He’s not paying attention to scientists. He’s certainly not going to pay attention to me, but I do feel that he has to hear it,” Pelosi added.
In the absence of a president who will listen, Pelosi relayed advice she received from scientists to the public. According to the advice given to Pelosi, the most important things the government can be focusing on right now are testing and providing healthcare workers with adequate protective equipment. “This administration has been very delinquent in how it has managed the supply, the supply chain, and the distribution of what we need to fight this,” said Pelosi. “Why? You have to ask them,” she said. “Let’s have the data so that we understand the challenge.”