Republican Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw stood his ground as comedian Bill Maher claimed that President Donald Trump had slow-rolled the nation’s response to coronavirus.
Crenshaw appeared Friday on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” and addressed everything from the federal response timeline to what House Democrats — led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — had been doing at the time.
— Austen Fletcher (@fleccas) April 19, 2020
Maher began by claiming that Trump had been warned in January that the novel coronavirus was going to be a problem, but Crenshaw quickly countered by pointing out that Trump had implemented the Chinese travel ban within days. (RELATED: ‘We Should Blame China’: Bill Maher Unloads On People Tip-Toeing Around Coronavirus Origins)
“Two days later he implemented a restrictive travel ban from China which he was widely criticized for,” Crenshaw said, adding, “That same day, on January 31st, Nancy Pelosi proposed the ‘No Ban Act,’ which would be congressional limitation on what President Trump is actually able to do with that travel restriction.”
Maher responded by arguing that thousands of people had still been allowed to travel to the United States from China after the ban was put into place. “He lies about that,” Maher said. “He said he stopped people coming in from China and he did not.”
“Look, let me address that,” Crenshaw jumped in, pointing out the fact that the people who had been allowed to travel from China after the ban was put into place were American citizens. “U.S. citizens,” he repeated, saying, “So you have to make the argument then that we shouldn’t allow them in.”
“It sounds to me like you’re fully agreeing with President Trump on this when everybody else disagreed with him,”Crenshaw continued as Maher visibly recoiled. “And if you’re saying that you wish that travel restriction had been more extreme, okay fine, you apparently had the foresight when nobody else did. The fact is that if Joe Biden was in charge at that moment, he’s already said he wouldn’t have done it, he criticized it at the time. Nancy Pelosi actually proposed legislation to stop it.”
“Okay, but people are still coming in from China,” Maher said as he tried to redirect the conversation to what the federal government had been doing during the month of February.
Crenshaw responded by pointing out that much of February had been spent not making the bold policy moves but developing the necessary tests that would later be in demand.
“We were in a fact-finding mode in February, and people forget this,” Crenshaw explained.
“We weren’t!” Maher protested, but Crenshaw continued.
“You keep calling February this lost month, it’s really not. It’s just an easy, cheap accusation because there’s no big bold moves taken like there was in January or like there was in March,” Crenshaw continued. “But the reality is, the government was working to create that test. Did it work as fast as we would like? Of course not, and there’s a lot of reasons for that.”
Crenshaw went on to note that, as of March 3, there were still just over 100 cases in the U.S. — and suggested that even if the going recommendation from the experts had been a full lockdown, Americans would not have accepted it at that point in time.
WATCH the full segment here: