Elisabeth Hasselbeck, a former co-host on “The View,” returned to the ABC talk show Wednesday, where she encouraged calm amid the spread of the novel coronavirus, which the World Health Organization hours later classified as a “pandemic.”
“There can be a fine line between what is precaution, right, what is taking precaution and what is panic,” said Hasselbeck, an outspoken Christian who left the daytime panel in 2013. “So I think a lot of it has to be decided. Yes, we’re going to take precautions, we’re going to [use] Purell. Pray that God’s got us in our tomorrows, right, we pray that this coronavirus is extinguished — that it’s stopped in its tracks. I love the fact that we can identify that this is precautionary, right?”
“We’ve had affected cases; those are serious,” she continued. “We’ve had deaths; those are serious. This is not to be taken lightly at all, but we shouldn’t be in a state of panic, because what we’re doing — and taking cues from our president — is taking early, strong, bold actions to keep this at bay as much as we possibly can right now. We’re still on the front end of this. We’re on the very front end of this now, and I feel comfortable and confident in that because of strong leadership.”
There was an obvious and immediate frustration among the show’s co-hosts, most visibly from Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin, both of whom took issue with Hasselbeck’s compliments for President Donald Trump.
In response to their pushback about Trump’s handling of the situation, Hasselbeck pointed to the fact the White House has proposed a payroll tax cut through the election in hopes of reviving the economy, which has been negatively impacted by crippling fear about the novel coronavirus, formally named COVID-19. He has also signed an $8.3 billion package to combat the illness.
Regardless, neither Behar nor Hostin are happy with the Trump administration’s response to the viral outbreak.
Hasselbeck has also faced an unfortunate response from some on social media who have rebuked the 42-year-old commentator for calling for prayer:
The backlash Hasselbeck has faced is similar to the response received by Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump appointed to lead the federal government’s response to COVID-19.
In early March, Pence was pictured praying alongside medical experts, including the leaders of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The vice president then faced wildly incorrect characterizations from people who, because he’s a Christian, said he is just trying to “pray away” the illness.
That, of course, isn’t the case, which was immediately clear, since Pence was — in fact — sitting with medical experts.