Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill’s Morning Report – Trump, first lady in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 Hillicon Valley: Senate panel votes to subpoena Big Tech executives | Amazon says over 19,000 workers tested positive for COVID-19 | Democrats demand DHS release report warning of election interference On The Money: GOP cool to White House’s .6T coronavirus price tag | Company layoffs mount as pandemic heads into fall | Initial jobless claims drop to 837,000 MORE (R-Texas) said Monday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpQuestions remain unanswered as White House casts upbeat outlook on Trump’s COVID-19 fight White House staffers get email saying to stay home if they experience coronavirus symptoms White House says ‘appropriate precautions’ were taken for Trump’s outing to see supporters MORE “let his guard down” on the coronavirus, in some of the toughest comments yet from a GOP lawmaker about the president’s handling of the virus after Trump announced his positive test late Thursday night.
“I think he let his guard down, and I think in his desire to try to demonstrate that we are somehow coming out of this and that the danger is not still with us — I think he got out over his skis and frankly, I think it’s a lesson to all of us that we need to exercise self discipline,” Cornyn told the Houston Chronicle editorial board.
The newspaper reported that the comment came after Cornyn was asked about Trump rarely wearing a mask and holding largely mask-less events such as the Supreme Court nomination announcement where multiple attendees have now announced positive tests.
Cornyn, in addition to being the former No. 2 Republican in the Senate, is facing an election in less than a month against Democrat MJ Hegar. Cornyn is favored in the race, as the Cook Political Report rates it “likely Republican,” but it’s still competitive.
Cornyn said Trump’s policy responses like shutting down travel from China and supporting coronavirus aid packages “demonstrated the seriousness of the virus,” the Chronicle reported, but he also said Trump’s rhetoric sometimes “creates confusion.”
“He tries to balance that with saying, ‘Well you know, we got this.’ And clearly we don’t have this,” Cornyn said. “I think the biggest mistake people make in public life is not telling the truth, particularly in something with as much public interest as here because you know the real story is going to come out.”
The string of coronavirus cases among top Republicans — not only the president, but also White House officials, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel and several GOP senators — has brought the virus further to the forefront of the national discussion at a time when many Republicans would rather be emphasizing the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett.
Cornyn made clear he prefers Trump over Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenQuestions remain unanswered as White House casts upbeat outlook on Trump’s COVID-19 fight CNN anchor confronts senior Trump campaign adviser after motorcade: Trump’s ‘downplaying the virus’ Biden again tests negative for COVID-19 MORE, arguing that Biden would be pulled far to the left.
“If you’re asking me to choose between the policies of a Biden presidency with the pressure he’ll get from the left of his own party … I would vote for the president and his policies,” he told the Chronicle.