Columnist systematically dismantles Dan Crenshaw’s viral defense of Trump
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) via Instagram

On Monday, writing for The Washington Post's "The Fix," Aaron Blake broke down the false claims in the viral video President Donald Trump tweeted of Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) defending his response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Jan. 31: Crenshaw says Trump implements China travel restrictions 'even though things like the World Health Organization were saying 'no need to limit trade and movement,' and they largely criticized President Trump’s travel restrictions,'" wrote Blake. "This is an incorrect summary of the WHO’s comments on travel bans. ... In the story [Crenshaw cites], the WHO’s head, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, doesn’t say there is 'no need' for travel bans at all; he instead says there was no need to 'unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade.' He is quoted saying, 'We call on all countries to implement decisions that are evidence-based and consistent.' That’s not saying there should be no bans but instead that countries should be judicious with them. Crenshaw also repeated Trump’s claim that the WHO 'largely criticized' Trump’s travel restrictions; STAT News has found no evidence to bolster that claim."

"Crenshaw adds it was the 'same day, Jan. 31, that Nancy Pelosi proposed the NO BAN Act, which would actually stop President Trump implementing the lifesaving travel restrictions that he did implement,'" continued Blake. "Pelosi didn’t propose the NO BAN Act on Jan. 31. The bill had been introduced by another member a year ago ... What’s more, the NO BAN Act wouldn’t 'stop President Trump implementing the lifesaving travel restrictions.' In fact, while the act requires more significant and documented justification for travel bans, it affirms a president’s authority in such cases."

"Feb. 4: 'Let’s not forget that President Trump did talk about the coronavirus in the State of the Union on Feb. 4. What happened to that State of the Union? That happened.' (Video plays of Pelosi ripping up her copy of the speech after Trump finished.)" wrote Blake. "Crenshaw notably doesn’t relay what Trump actually said about the virus in his State of the Union. In the speech, Trump said, 'We are coordinating with the Chinese government and working closely together on the coronavirus outbreak in China. My administration will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat.' It was among comments around that time in which Trump played up the coordination between the two countries, even as figures within his administration were privately bemoaning the lack of cooperation from China."

"'Fast forward a couple weeks when the president actually asked Congress for supplemental funding to combat the virus. What did Nancy Pelosi do? Instead of putting that money on the House floor to be voted on, she put a bill to ban flavored tobacco,'" wrote Blake. "As PolitiFact has noted, there were ongoing negotiations about the package until early March. The Trump administration also asked for the funding on Feb. 24, when the bill on flavored tobacco and vaping products already was on the agenda. The GOP-controlled Senate at the time was taking up antiabortion rights bills."

Crenshaw, Blake concluded, "pretends as if the decision was between the little that the federal government did in February and a total shutdown of the country. In fact, there were few calls for a shutdown in February — when, as Crenshaw notes, even countries harder hit at the time than the United States hadn’t taken that step. Trump has sought to suggest critics wanted things shut down in January, despite there being very few cases at the time. The fact that Crenshaw concluded with this says plenty about the aim of his video."

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