Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) is calling on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to apologize for her "insensitive" response about President Donald Trump's coronavirus diagnosis. Pelosi, reacting to the news of Trump's positive results just hours after they were confirmed, wished the president well, though she had called Trump's behavior a "brazen invitation for something like this to happen." Trump has held multiple rallies in recent months where face masks and social distancing were not required.
In a letter sent to Pelosi and obtained by The Hill, Banks said that her "insinuation that anyone would deserve to contract COVID-19 is offensive and shameful." He said that her comments were "especially insensitive to every single American whose family member or friend has perished because of this illness." Due to this, Banks wrote, "we are writing to request you apologize to all those who have been directly affected by this devastating virus."
Banks went on to suggest Pelosi's suggestion that Trump was at least partially responsible for his positive test result also insinuates that frontline workers who contract the virus are partially at fault. Citing her net worth and the level of luxury it allows her, Pelosi "may not understand the difficult position millions of Americans are in, having to choose between potentially exposing themselves and their families to the invisible threat of COVID-19 and bringing home income to pay the bills and put good food on the table." He noted that since the beginning of the pandemic, have continuously "had to carry the burden of risk of coming home to their loved ones with COVID-19."
"On behalf of those millions of Americans who have contracted this virus, I formally request an apology for insinuating that those suffering from this illness are somehow at fault for their pain," he wrote. "I also request that you not resort to victim-blaming during this difficult time in American history."
At this time, Pelosi has not issued an apology for her comments, nor has she publicly responded to Banks' letter. Banks, however, is not the only one criticizing the House Speaker’s remarks, with similar anger having been expressed by Rep. Kevin McCarthy. Appearing on Fox News' Sunday Morning Futures, McCarthy slammed Pelosi’s reaction to the diagnosis as "rather disgusting" and "uncalled for." He added that it's "really unbecoming of that position."
Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, their diagnoses being confirmed early Friday morning. Coming shortly after confirming of Hope Hicks' diagnosis, their positive results marked just the first of more than two dozen that have stemmed from the president's inner circle in recent days.