The war of words between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. President Donald Trump continues unabated, with Pelosi on Tuesday standing behind her reference to Trump as “morbidly obsese,” and Trump calling her a “sick woman” in response.
Pelosi had raised eyebrows Monday with a particularly pointed attack on the president, saying — in response to his admission that he was taking the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine to ward off COVID-19 — that he would be at greater risk from the virus because of his weight.
After causing alarm in medical circles for suggesting last month that people could possibly be injected with disinfectant to treat the coronavirus, Trump had on Monday doubled down on his praise for hydroxychloroquine. The malaria drug has been unproven against COVID-19, but Trump has constantly pushed its benefits. On Monday, he went as far as saying he is taking it himself.
Pelosi had told CNN’s Anderson Cooper: “He’s our president, and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and his, shall we say, weight group … morbidly obese, they say.”
The Guardian reports that Trump’s last full medical, taken in February 2019, saw him register a 30.4 Body Mass Index, making him not quite morbidly obese, as Pelosi claimed, but obese according to medical standards.
The Hill reports that Trump first ignored Pelosi’s weight remarks, saying at a press conference on Tuesday: “I don’t respond to her. I think she’s a waste of time.” Soon, though, he found himself unable to resist a counter-attack, saying: “Pelosi is a sick woman. She’s got a lot of problems, a lot of mental problems.”
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, for his part, backed Pelosi, saying of Trump:
“I don’t know whether he is taking (hydroxychloroquine) or not. I know him saying he is taking it, whether he is or not, is reckless, reckless, reckless.”
On social media, some had criticized Pelosi for fat-shaming the president, but when hearing that Trump called her “sick,” Pelosi didn’t hesitate to counter right away.
“I didn’t know that he would be so sensitive. He’s always talking about other people’s … weight, their pounds,” she told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, according to a report in The Hill.
“I think he should recognize that his words weigh a ton,” she added. “Instead of telling people to put Lysol into their lungs or taking a medication that has not been approved except under certain circumstances, he should be saying what your previous guest mentioned, things that would help people.”
The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about hydroxychloroquine use, but The Hill reported that Trump on Tuesday was unbowed by the uproar that followed his admission of taking the drug, saying:
“This is an individual decision to make. But it’s had a great reputation, and if it was somebody else other than me, people would say, ‘Gee, isn’t that smart?'”