Former Congresswoman Donna Edwards opined that Donald Trump’s mismanagement of the coronavirus is at least partly due to the fact that he keeps blabbing misinformation. Not one of the conservatives on the panel defended Trump.
On today’s Fox News Sunday, none of the panelists had anything good to say about Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
It’s not in the video below but as the transcript shows, conservative Ben Domenech opened the discussion by saying, “There were some early glitches in terms of their handling of this. I think the thing that's really on the mind of the president, though, is his broader agenda going into the 2020 election. And .. he shouldn't be viewing this in the context of politics, he should be viewing it in the contest of public health. And there, I think, needs to be a real sticking to the talking points that he has, the facts as we know them…"
Conservative Jason Riley said, “He needs to find a way to reassure people, without being overly dismissive of the seriousness of this. And it is going to affect the economy. It's going to affect the supply chains. Businesses like certainty. This introduces all kinds of uncertainty. We have spring break travel coming up that's being canceled. Conferences are being canceled. So he's going to have to work through this.” Later, Riley said Trump “will have to find a way to reassure people, and not overpromise in terms of how quickly we are going to get past this. I think he needs to let the health professionals do their job and not be out there contradicting them or second-guessing them.”
Anchor Chris Wallace asked Edwards, “How legitimate do you think it is for Democrats to go after the president on the administration response to the coronavirus?”
Edwards’ response was surprisingly blunt. Even more surprising was that nobody had a problem with her criticism nor her claim that Trump has been putting out misinformation.
EDWARDS: The information that he puts out is just inaccurate. I mean he would actually, I think, do better in terms of the public if he just shut up because I don't think people would necessarily blame the president for something that was out of his control, but if he continues and his administration mismanages the crisis, then I think it's a legitimate point of challenge by anyone who wants to be president saying, I'd manage it better.
I mean we saw the impact, for example, that Hurricane Katrina and the response had with President Bush, and I don't think this is, you know, different in that respect. But the president doesn't do himself or the American public any good when he makes assertions that are completely contrary to the scientific evidence.
WALLACE: Ben, the president has literally tweeted this morning, prior to this conversation, that the administration is doing a great job and it's the fake news media that's running him down.
DOMENECH: You know, I think we can believe a couple of different things are true here. One is, the panic is overblown. This is not the kind of public health crisis, yet, that people are treating it in the way that they're approaching it in some sections of the media.
However, it's very serious. It should result in changes in human behavior for the time being, as we figure out how we have to adjust to live our lives this way.
… [P]eople should take this seriously. But don't freak out. Don't -- don't panic. Don't -- don't turn into, you know, a -- a, you know, Black Friday mob at the -- at the Costco when you're trying to prepare for this.
WALLACE: And on -- quoting the congresswoman, that the president, I'll be gentler, should be quiet?
DOMENECH: I think that the president should, as I said, stick to the talking points that he's given. You know, he's not a medical professional, but he's surrounded by them now. There are a lot of serious people working on this. I think he should just stick to those points and not go off script the way that he does so often.
JUAN WILLIAMS: Yes, I think it hurts them politically. And you can see it, there's a public opinion -- public policy poll out that says 51 percent of Americans at the moment disapprove of the way he's handling this. But I agree with Congresswoman Edwards that if he said nothing, people wouldn't blame him. People might be, you know --
RILEY: No, people look to the present for leadership on things like this. He needs to watch what he says, yes, but I don't think he should stop talking about this. The president --
EDWARDS: Well, the president is incapable of doing that. And so I think he should really, you know, defer to the people in his administration --
RILEY: Fine, but -- but -- but he should --
EDWARDS: Who really have the capacity to make the American public comfortable in where we need to be.
Wallace ended the discussion after that.
You can watch it below, from the March 8, 2020 Fox News Sunday.