Laura Ingraham calls out Trump for dodging question about struggling businesses on "Fox & Friends"

Trump did make time to criticize House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calling her a "sick puppy" with "a lot of problems"

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published March 30, 2020 5:45PM (EDT)

President Donald Trump listens to a question during press briefing with the coronavirus task force, at the White House, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Washington.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump listens to a question during press briefing with the coronavirus task force, at the White House, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump attempted to take credit for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's widely-praised response to the coronavirus pandemic Monday despite having rejected New York's pleas for additional life-saving ventilators.

Trump, who on Sunday bragged that the ratings for his news briefings were higher than "The Bachelor," told "Fox & Friends" that he personally made Cuomo "successful." But the governor's approval rating was up to 71% among New Yorkers in Siena College poll released Monday, while just 41% approved of Trump.

"One of the reasons his numbers are high on handling it is because of the federal government," Trump said during the lengthy phone interview. "Because we give him ships, and we give him ventilators and we give him all of the things that we're giving him . . . We're giving him four hospitals, and four medical centers and all of the things that we've done . . . One of the reasons he's successful is because we've helped make him successful."

Trump's claim came after the president rejected Cuomo's desperate plea to help the state acquire 30,000 ventilators.

"I don't believe" they need that many, Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity last week before denying on Sunday that he said so. Trump went on to baselessly accuse a hospital of misusing or stealing protective equipment, drawing a strong rebuke from Democrats.

Cuomo also blasted Trump on Sunday for sparking fear in New York by floating an "enforceable" quarantine for the area's residents before standing down hours later.

The Siena poll found that 56% of New Yorkers disapprove of Trump's response, and 61% of the state's residents have an unfavorable view of the president in general.

"He's gotten good marks," Trump told Fox. "I've gotten great marks. I've gotten great marks also."

The president also claimed that governors around the country were "very happy" with his response. However, numerous governors, including multiple Republicans, have criticized his administration's delays and inaction.

Trump also lashed out at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who told CNN on Sunday that "people are dying" while "the president fiddles." The president, in response, said Pelosi was a "sick puppy" with "a lot of problems."

"The federal government, we may get involved and take over that area and clean it up," Trump added. "It's such a mess. It's so bad, and yet she will sit there and complain. All she did was focus on impeachment. She didn't focus on anything having to do pandemics. She focused on impeachment, and she lost. And she looked like a fool."

Pelosi did not hold back in her criticism of Trump, noting that he ignored numerous warning signs for weeks before the coronavirus hit the U.S.

"The president — his denial at the beginning — was deadly," she said. "His delaying of getting equipment to where it continued — his continued delay in getting equipment to where it's needed is deadly."

Despite tearing into lawmakers trying to deal with the crisis in the U.S., Trump defended China and Russia for spreading disinformation about the virus online.

"Every country does it," he claimed. "They do it, and we do it."

Trump said he planned to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin, prompting host Brian Kilmeade to ask what he would say if Putin asked him "to lift sanctions."

"I'm the one that put the sanctions on, Brian — nobody else" Trump responded. "I put the sanctions on. I've been tougher on Russia than any president in the history of the country."

Trump then bizarrely went on to note that Russia was "our partner in World War II."

"Germany was the enemy, and Germany is like this wonderful thing [now]," Trump said. "Well, Germany takes advantage of us on trade for years. They pay far too little in NATO. They are paying 1%. But they are supposed to pay 2%, and nobody talks about that."

Trump dodged questions about actual, specific measures he was taking to help those hit hardest by the virus, angering even his staunchest supporters at the network.

"Steve Doocy just asked [Trump] about small businesses struggling, having to make rent payments on April 1," Fox host Laura Ingraham tweeted. "He didn't get an answer."

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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