CNN anchor Poppy Harlow on Friday shut down Trump campaign spokesperson Mercedes Schlapp over the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, pointing out how many times the president has said the virus that’s killed nearly 140,000 Americans would just “go away” and “disappear.”
In a contentious 15-minute CNN interview, Schlapp was steamrolled almost immediately by Harlow, who came prepared with a list of facts to push back on the Trump flack’s inevitable spin.
After tangling over the issue of mask mandates and how experts show they could stem the spread of the disease, Harlow brought up a patient who recently died, noting he expressed regret for believing coronavirus was a hoax.
“For months and months, why did the president continue to downplay the severity of this?” Harlow pressed the Trump spokesperson, prompting her to blow up.
“He never downplayed it,” she yelled. “That you’re saying that he downplayed the severity of this, this president has taken decisive and bold actions from the beginning. When his medical experts said, look, we need to put the travel restrictions on China, the president acted immediately. You know what Joe Biden said?!”
The CNN anchor, however, told Schlapp to stick to the president’s handling of the virus and not pivot to Biden, telling Schlapp that she thinks “it does a disservice” to viewers to deflect and argue.
“Let’s not fight, let’s talk about the facts,” Harlow said. “Here are the facts. You said the president didn’t downplay this. Exactly one month ago today, the president said, ‘It’s fading away.’”
“January 22 in Davos, Switzerland, ‘It’s totally under control,’” the CNN anchor continued. “February 22, ‘We shut it down.’ February 10, it ‘goes away in April with the heat, a lot of people think.’ February 26, ‘The risk to the American people remains low.’ February 28, quote, ‘This is their new hoax.’ May 8, ‘It is going to go away without a vaccine.’ That’s what I’m talking about.”
Schlapp reacted by claiming the president has ensured that both Democratic and Republicans governors across the nation have received necessary supplies and resources, causing Harlow to note that Maryland’s GOP governor had to go to South Korea to get masks.
“He praised the president,” a desperate Schlapp interjected. “He praised the president beforehand.”
Later in the interview, Harlow listed off a series of recent polls that show that a vast majority of the American public doesn’t trust the president’s handling of the pandemic, noting that Trump “has a serious credibility crisis here.”
Having already asked why Trump and his advisers have recently attacked top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci and dumped oppo research on him, Harlow highlighted that public polling shows that far more people trust Fauci over Trump.
Schlapp’s response: Attack the pollsters themselves, specifically Quinnipiac, which she claimed was way too “skewed” towards Democrats. Harlow, however, brought up several times in the past where the president has praised Quinnipiac.