Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) on Sunday accused President Donald Trump of costing American lives through his response to the spread of the coronavirus.
"Are you saying [Trump's] downplaying ultimately cost American lives?" CNN anchor Jake Tapper asked.
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"Yes, I am. I'm saying that," Pelosi said. "Because when he made—the other day, when he was signing the bill, he said, ‘Just think, 20 days ago everything was great.' No, everything wasn't great."
Pelosi argued Trump's knowledge of the virus should have prompted earlier action to combat delays in testing and equipment, noting the president's previous statements did not highlight the gravity of the coming pandemic.
Polling shows most Americans do not agree with Pelosi's criticism, however, as 60 percent of Gallup respondents said they approve of Trump's handling of the crisis. His approval rating has also improved to the best point of his presidency, with the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll finding his overall job approval rating is 48 percent, while his disapproval rating is 46 percent.
Former vice president Joe Biden, also a critic of Trump's coronavirus response, said during an interview on Sunday's Meet the Press that it would be a stretch to blame Trump for lives lost due to the virus. During his campaign for president, Biden has said Trump should be held accountable for "failures" in the virus response, although he has also denied that he is trying to criticize the president.