Pelosi Says She Didn’t Downplay Coronavirus By Encouraging Tourists To ‘Come To Chinatown’ In February

Screenshot Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace

Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed the idea that she downplayed the virus in February by encouraging tourists to take a stroll through San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Pelosi appeared on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” to discuss the novel coronavirus. Wallace pointed out that Pelosi “went on a walking tour around Chinatown” to promote tourism and then played a clip where she assured Americans that “everything is fine here.”

“If the president underplayed the threat in the early days, Speaker Pelosi, didn’t you as well?” Wallace asked.

“No!” Pelosi replied. “What we were trying to do is end the discrimination, the stigma that was going out against the Asian-American community and in fact, if you will look, the record will show that our Chinatown has been a model of containing and preventing the virus, and I’m confident in our folks there and thought it was necessary to offset some of the things that the president and others were saying about Asian-Americans and making them a target. A target of violence across the country.”


Wallace then asked again if Pelosi thinks she was “adding to this perception that there wasn’t such a threat generally” by walking around “without any masks” and assuring Americans that “it’s perfectly safe.”

“No,” Pelosi said. “No, I was saying that you should not discriminate against – discriminate against Chinese-Americans, as some in our administration were doing, by the way, they were labeling the flu and that. No, indeed. And again, I think you – if you check the record, and it’s current, you will see that Chinatown has been a model in all of this.”

And that’s what we’re saying, look to them for answers. Don’t look to them to place blame.”

Pelosi’s visit came three weeks after President Donald Trump’s administration announced a partial travel restriction on people entering America from China amid the growing threat of the novel coronavirus, according to Snopes.

“We want to be vigilant about what is out there in other places. We want to be careful about how we deal with it, but we do want to say to people ‘Come to Chinatown. Here we are, careful, safe and come join us,'” Pelosi said in a video Feb. 24. (RELATED: FLASHBACK Feb. 24: Pelosi Stands In San Francisco’s Chinatown And Urges People To Come Out)

The Democratic National Committee commented on this apparent discrimination against Chinese-Americans, blaming Trump Saturday for stoking “the flames of racism.”

“In this time of crisis, we must come together as Americans,” the DNC tweeted. “Donald Trump has instead stoked the flames of racism by calling #COVID19 the ‘Chinese virus’ and equating Chinatowns in the United States with China. Words have consequences. And Trump’s words are dangerous.”