This week, the Sunday Shows focused mainly on the widespread protests occurring across the nation against Coronavirus restrictions, as Americans grow weary of stay-at-home orders and being prohibited from engaging in outdoor activities. Several Democratic politicians took to the airwaves to denounce the protests and to excoriate President Donald Trump for encouraging them.
Nancy Pelosi Slams Protests
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made an appearance on Fox News Sunday, in which she criticized Americans who are protesting against the strict Coronavirus orders that have had a deleterious impact on their lives. Amid a sharp increase in unemployment and the fact that many people have been unable to leave their homes, residents of several states took to the streets on April 18 to make their views known.
“The fact is, we’re all impatient. We all want out,” Pelosi said. “But what they’re doing is really unfortunate.”
Her comments come after a week in which protestors in Michigan, Maryland, Texas, Virginia, Minnesota, and other states held demonstrations to express their opposition to restrictive COVID-19 measures that have resulted in the closure of businesses deemed “non-essential.”
Health officials have cautioned that the protests could end up spreading the Coronavirus further. The result would be an extension of the shelter-in-place orders, which would counteract the objective the protesters are trying to achieve.
Pelosi also castigated President Trump for his handling of the outbreak, giving him an “F” for “weak” leadership. “Leaders – leaders take responsibility,” she said. “So I said he’s a weak leader. He doesn’t take responsibility. He places blame – blame on others. And that might have been okay before, but we cannot continue down a path that is, again, I’ll come back to science, science, science, evidence, data on how we should go forward.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the president’s Coronavirus Task Force, supported Trump’s plan to reopen the economy. However, Pelosi indicated that the president has failed to provide adequate testing resources to the states that require them. “The president gets an F, a failure on the testing,” she said.
Governors Lash Out At Trump
Two governors criticized the president for supporting the protests that occurred on Saturday. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) claimed that Trump was promoting “insubordination” and “illegal activity” after he posted a series of tweets expressing solidarity with the demonstrators.
In an appearance on ABC News’ This Week, Inslee insisted that Trump’s tweets were “dangerous,” saying: “To have an American president to encourage people to violate the law, I can’t remember any time in my time in America where we have seen such a thing.” He added, “It is dangerous because it can inspire people to ignore things that actually can save their lives.”
Inslee also asserted that Trump’s actions are “doubly frustrating” for governors “because this is such a schizophrenia.” He further claimed that the president is “basically asking people” to disregard the advice of Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, in relation to the restrictions.
Before the protests, Trump told reporters that some of the measures taken by states were “too tough.” He said: “These are people expressing their views … They seem to be very responsible people to me. But they’ve been treated a little bit rough.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) echoed similar sentiments. In an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, he also criticized the president for supporting the demonstrations. Hogan pointed out that those who are calling for the reopening of businesses are contradicting the Trump administration’s guidance, which suggested a phased step-by-step process for restoring commerce. “I don’t think it’s helpful to encourage demonstrations and encourage people to go against the president’s own policy,” he said.
What About Small Business Funding?
After Congress failed to pass another stimulus bill that would provide funds for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin expressed optimism that help would be coming soon. “I think we’re making a lot of progress,” he said in an interview for State of the Union. “I’m hopeful that we can reach an agreement, that the Senate can pass this tomorrow, and that the House can take it up on Tuesday, and Wednesday, we’d be back up and running … I’m hopeful.”
Democratic members of Congress also indicated that they could reach a deal this week. In an appearance on CNN, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stated that he is “very hopeful we could come to an agreement tonight or early tomorrow morning.” Pelosi, too, indicated that Congress is “very close” to an agreement.
Last week, the original $349 billion allocated to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was quickly exhausted. The program, which is managed by the Small Business Administration (SBA), provides forgivable loans to small businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic. Last week, the SBA announced that they were unable to take new applications.
The second bill would have provided another round of funding for struggling businesses. Still, Democratic lawmakers blocked the measure, arguing that it should also include $100 billion for hospitals and $150 billion for state and local governments. Republicans insisted that they could deal with those issues in future legislation and that those small businesses needed access to the funds as soon as possible.
Read more from Jeff Charles.
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