For Immediate Release
Sept. 12, 2020
Contact: Angelica Luna-Kaufman
U.S. Rep. Crenshaw Defends Trump’s Initial Attempt to Understate COVID-19 Deadliness
‘We’re Not Buying It,’ Says HCDP Chair About Crenshaw Response
Republican U.S. House member Dan Crenshaw on Friday argued that President Trump downplayed the deadliness of COVID-19 because he was trying “not to make people panic.” Trump “never uses the right words” but “his intent was very good,” Crenshaw said in remarks captured on video and shared on Facebook.
Harris County Democratic Party Chair Lillie Schechter disagrees.
“Congressman Crenshaw continues his attempts to sell us on Trump’s abysmal coronavirus response,” said Schechter. “But we’re not buying it.”
“In times of crisis, the public must be informed and warned in a way that will improve personal safety,” she said. “Effective, honest communication is essential. The goal is to help the public take appropriate action despite the fear.”
Crenshaw joined fellow Republicans defending the president against a report that Trump knew in February the virus was “more deadly than even your strenuous flus” yet continued to understate its danger publicly.
Why is Crenshaw “praising Trump's ‘very good’ intentions for downplaying a virus that has killed 14,000 Texans?” asked Democrat Sima Ladjevardian, who is opposing the congressman in the November election.
Crenshaw, who represents Texas’ 2nd Congressional District, has come under fire recently for his own response to the pandemic.
He has accused both Democrats and the media of exaggerating the impact of the virus and has repeatedly attended events without a mask. In July, more than 100 Houston-area doctors signed a letter condemning Crenshaw for “spreading dangerous misinformation” about the coronavirus.
“Dan Crenshaw…has spewed lies for the past four months — minimizing the threat we face and spreading dangerous disinformation for self-indulgent headlines,” the letter said.
“While Dan bends over backwards to enable the president, our families are enduring unimaginable losses,” Ladjevardian said. “Crenshaw has failed us.”
Schechter said Crenshaw is not acting like a representative of the citizens of Harris County.
“Congressman Crenshaw has proven he is just another Trump crony working to promote the president’s overly optimistic COVID-19 messaging,” Schechter said. “Just like the Trump officials who interfered with CDC reports on COVID, Dan is doing everything possible to support Trump’s dangerous rhetoric.”
Ladjevardian said Trump failed to provide the leadership and support Americans need during the pandemic.
“POTUS had an obligation to prepare us for this crisis, not to lie and downplay,” said Ladjevardian on Twitter. “To trust that Americans, when told the truth, do not panic.”
Republicans need to speak up when Trump “continues his parade of lies,” Schechter said.
“The President of the United States possesses the world’s most powerful microphone,” she said. “Some people still believe Donald Trump when he speaks. Republicans need to stop acting as though he needs an interpreter and call him out when he’s concealing or distorting the truth.”
Crenshaw “became Trump's shining star, spreading disinformation far and wide,” said Ladjevardian. “Now Americans are paying the price.”
Schechter says Trump’s explanation for withholding key information makes little sense because the president’s politics are based on attempting to frighten people.
“Trump arguing that he didn’t want people to panic is ludicrous,” said Schechter. “His entire presidency has been about stirring up panic.”
“Only a handful of Republicans have called out Trump for his lies,” said Schechter. “And Dan Crenshaw isn’t one of them.”
“We need to tell Crenshaw and other Republicans who continue to enable Trump’s atrocious behavior that we’ve had enough,” said Schechter. “In November, we must make our voices heard at the ballot box.”
“We need to vote Trump and everyone who continues to support and legitimize his false narrative out of office,” she said.