Trump says Pelosi to blame for deaths over Chinatown advocacy

Josh Wingrove

President Donald Trump launched a fresh attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, blaming her for “many deaths” after she encouraged people to not avoid San Francisco’s Chinatown, three weeks before local leaders issued the country’s first major shutdown order.

In her Feb. 24 remarks, Pelosi said precautions have been taken but that they think it is safe to be in Chinatown. She made the comments before a shelter-in-place order in that city, her spokesman said. The Bay Area’s shutdown was the first major one in the U.S., and California’s swift shutdowns have been credited in flattening the curve in that state.

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden of the White House, Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in Washington.

Trump has sought to shift blame for the virus’s spread in the U.S. – targeting the China, the World Health Organization and now Pelosi – as the number of infections and deaths from the virus continue to climb. According to a Gallup poll released Thursday, Trump’s job approval has slipped six percentage points to 43% since mid-March.

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Trump also accused Pelosi of deleting footage from her Twitter account, but did not provide any evidence of that. Her office said it’s a news clip and that they had never tweeted it or deleted it. A database of deleted tweets, Politwoops, shows no evidence Pelosi posted and deleted the video. The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

A day after Pelosi’s February remarks in San Francisco, Trump told reporters that the virus was “very well under control” in the U.S.

“The people are getting better. They’re all getting better,” he told reporters while traveling in India. “And we think they’ll be in very good shape very, very soon.”

Trump restricted travel to the U.S. from China on Jan. 31, but took few other actions to further curtail travel until March. The virus has claimed about 31,000 American lives, according to Johns Hopkins University. San Francisco has had 17 deaths.

At the time Pelosi spoke, there were 21 active cases reported in California, all believed to be in hospital isolation or quarantine, according to KPIX-TV.