Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas got into a heated debate with host Bill Maher on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher. The two were discussing President Donald Trump and his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Crenshaw, who served as a Navy SEAL and lost his right eye in an explosion, said, “When people make these accusations, I have to ask them: Is the goal to make Trump look bad or is the goal to get to the truth? Because there are two separate sets of answers for that.”
Maher slammed the president for his “pass-the-buck, lie, finger-point, and shirk-responsibility” tendencies.
Crenshaw said that everyone should root for the success of the president–especially during a global pandemic, arguing that “the president’s success is certainly tied to the success of the country.”
The Texas Rep. continued, “Republicans always get asked this question and this demand where we have to answer, ‘What do we feel about him? Don’t you want to comment about his latest tweet and the way he lashed out? And no, I don’t. I can’t defend everything. He doesn’t have the same style as I do. I don’t consider him to be my spiritual guide by any means.”
Maher tried to say that Trump was “warned” by aides about the severity of the coronavirus and didn’t act soon enough to prevent its spread. Crenshaw hit back, pointing out that Trump implemented a China travel ban early on–and was criticized for it by Democrats.
Maher said that people are “still coming in” from China and said Trump’s order only impacted “foreign nationals.”
“The reality is about 40,000 people came in after that,” Crenshaw said. “These were U.S. citizens and green-card holders and passport holders being repatriated. U.S. citizens. So you have to make the argument then that we shouldn’t allow them in.”
He continued, “It sounds to me that you’re fully agreeing with President Trump on this one and everybody else disagreed with him. And if you’re saying that the travel restriction should have been more extreme, then fine. You clearly had the foresight back then but nobody else did.”
Crenshaw pointed out that Joe Biden called the travel ban “xenophobic” and that Nancy Pelosi even proposed legislation to stop it. He said, “Your criticism appears to be based on one thing — that Trump was overly optimistic. That’s his style. You can criticize it, that’s fine, but it’s not connected to the actions that were actually taken.”
He went on to ask Maher if the American people “would have accepted” a lockdown of the country sooner, when there were “only 102 cases” of coronavirus in the U.S. on March 3.
He said, “I provide all of that context as we try to basically accuse this man of … he’s being accused of having blood on his hands. And context is so important here. If we’re going to criticize somebody’s actions, we have to do it with the facts they knew at the time. So I’m just trying to be fair here. I don’t really care about defending him or his actions. I just care about letting people know the truth. And when people make these accusations, I have to ask them: Is the goal to make Trump look bad or is the goal to get to the truth? Because there are two separate sets of answers for that.”