Harwood: How Many People Have to Die Before GOP Takes COVID Seriously?

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John Harwood joined Friday morning’s CNN Newsroom to discuss the ongoing pandemic and to lament that Republicans are in denial on the virus and wonder how many more people will have to die before they start taking it seriously.

Host Poppy Harlow kicked off the segment by citing, “guidance from the White House that suggested at least 18 states in so-called red zones should roll back their re-openings, but so far this report has not been published.” She then asked Harwood to explain the origins of the report and if the states have seen it.

Harwood, not answering the question, responded by saying that Republicans just don’t care: “Poppy, the states involved are living this experience. It’s not a matter of information, it’s a matter of political will. You have got a Republican president who has moved from a strategy of neglect to denial to aggressive, almost pathological, denial of what’s going on and Republican politicians in those states are following his lead.”

Continuing to blame Republicans for the resurgent case numbers, Harwood declared, “Sixteen of the 18 states were carried by President Trump. He focuses relentlessly on his base. Now, we know in the end you can only deny reality so long. Citizens will take responsibility in their own hands, they’ll take care of themselves, protect themselves.”

One of those two states is California (the other being Nevada), which given its position as the nation’s most populated state, seems like important context when talking about a record high numbers of nationwide cases, but Harwood didn’t mention that. Nor did he point out that three (North Carolina, Louisiana, and Kansas) of the 16 states he condemned have Democratic governors.

Missing context notwithstanding, Harwood predicted, “Eventually the Republican politicians will come along, but the question is how many people are going to get sick and die before that happens?

This segment was sponsored by Prevagen.

Here is a transcript of the July 17 show:

CNN

CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto

9:15 AM ET

POPPY HARLOW: Welcome back. We do have new details this morning, so guidance from the White House that suggested at least 18 states in so-called red zones should roll back their re-openings, but so far this report has not been published. So the public hasn’t seen it. Let’s go to our white house correspondent, John Harwood. John, let’s talk about these 18 states and if they were given this report. What’s the genesis of it, where does it come from? Right? ‘Cause it’s from July 14th and have the states themselves seen it? 

JOHN HARWOOD: Poppy, the states involved are living this experience. It’s not a matter of information, it’s a matter of political will. You have got a Republican president who has moved from a strategy of neglect to denial to aggressive almost pathological denial of what’s going on and Republican politicians in those states are following his lead. Sixteen of the 18 states were carried by President Trump. He focuses relentlessly on his base. Now, we know in the end you can only deny reality so long. Citizens will take responsibility in their own hands, they’ll take care of themselves, protect themselves. Eventually the Republican politicians will come along, but the question is how many people are going to get sick and die before that happens? 

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