• Vice President Mike Pence was pressed on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to back up some of his claims that Democrats were floating “irresponsible rhetoric” about the coronavirus outbreak. 
  • Host Chuck Todd called up examples of conservative like Rush Limbaugh and Donald Trump Jr. who have floated unsubstantiated claims of the virus being politically weaponized against President Donald Trump. 
  • “Name some names, sir, because this just feels like gaslighting,” Todd said of Pence’s broad claims against “Democrats.” 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

NBC host Chuck Todd pressed Vice President Mike Pence on his previous comments dismissing “irresponsible rhetoric” he said Democrats made about the coronavirus outbreak. 

On NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Todd picked out statements from come of the president’s allies, including Donald Trump Jr. and Rush Limbaugh, who has made unsubstantiated comments like claiming the virus is a “common cold” being weaponized by President Donald Trump’s critics. 

“None of this seems to match the facts,” Todd said. “What facts are there that Democrats are doing this? It seems like people are asking questions and are concerned about the virus. This implies some sort of political motivation, which is kind of gross.”

“Well, I will tell you there’s been a lot of irresponsible rhetoric among Democrats and commentators on the left,” Pence, who is leading the White House’s response to the outbreak, said.

“Who?” Todd asked. “Name some names, sir, because this just feels like gaslighting. Please name some names. We’re all big people here.”

Pence later pointed to a New York Times opinion column entitled “Let’s Call It Trumpvirus” as an example of a critic using the virus to slam Trump.

When asked if the vice president believed that “the entire Democratic Party is doing this,” Pence said, “No, but there have been irresponsible voices.”

Democratic contenders former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders criticized Trump’s response to the outbreak during their own Sunday show appearances, slamming him for politicizing the issue and trying to blame Democrats. 

—This Week (@ThisWeekABC) March 1, 2020

Pence’s comments come after Trump led a press conferenceSaturday after the first confirmed conornavirus-related death in the US. The president had clarified a comment he made at a rally the day before, when he called criticism from Democrats over his handling of the virus a “hoax.” 

When a reporter asked if he regretted using the word “hoax,” Trump said his comments were in reference to Democrats propagating other political issues like “the impeachment hoax or the Russia, Russia, Russia hoax.” 

“Hoax referring to the action that they take to try and pin this on somebody because we’ve done such a good job,” Trump said Saturday. “The hoax is on them.” 

Read more:

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