The day after he became the focus of sharp criticism for urging Fox News viewers to go out to their local restaurants and pubs in direct contradiction of CDC guidelines, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) claimed “media freaks” were distorting his remarks.
During an appearance on Fox News’ Sunday Futures with Maria Bartiromo, Nunes said that if you’re “healthy” it’s a “great time to go out and go to a local restaurant,” noting that it was likely “you can get in easy.”
While top infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci was making the Sunday show rounds calling on people to avoid bars and restaurants to help stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, Nunes called on Americans to “go to your local pub” because we don’t want to “hurt the working people in this country that are relying on wages and tips.”
On Monday night, Fox News host Sean Hannity hosted Nunes on his primetime show, pointing out that the California Republican had gotten “hammered” for wanting to “support a local restaurant,” adding that “the good news is that these restaurants are now delivering” while pointing out that he knows Nunes supports the administration’s stance toward combating the virus.
“Sean, these media freaks don’t have a clue what’s going on out in the real world,” Nunes fumed. “We have a problem out here because we have people standing in line for 45 minutes at Costco.”
“So what I was saying is you have empty restaurants,” he continued. “You can go through the drive-thru or do takeout. It’s a great place to go. The media freaks can do what they want.”
The conservative lawmaker went on to claim it was the media that’s “endangering lives here by continuing this panic when we have no food shortage in this country” and said “we have to stop panicking” in order to keep the American public calm.
Nunes did not say during his Sunday Fox appearance that he was encouraging people to use the drive-thru or get takeout. He said it was a “great time” to go to a “local pub” or restaurant if you are “healthy,” highlighting that it would likely be easy to get in.
After the CDC recommended canceling gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks to slow the spread of the virus, President Donald Trump released guidelines on Monday calling for people to avoid groups of more than 10 individuals and to “steer clear of eating and drinking at bars, restaurants and food courts.”