CNN's Keilar vs. GOP Rep. Chip Roy: "You Think Everything Is Fine?" | Video | RealClearPolitics

CNN's Keilar vs. GOP Rep. Chip Roy: "You Think Everything Is Fine?"


CNN's Brianna Keilar discusses the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic with Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX).

KEILAR: Let's talk about the lives in Texas. Talking lives crushed, we're talking lives that are gone.

ROY: Sure.

KEILAR: I just spoke with a doctor who is just south of your district.

ROY: Hidalgo, yes.

KEILAR: And they are dealing with incredible numbers --

ROY: Absolutely. KEILAR: -- death rates, as you know.

ROY: Right.

KEILAR: This isn't just about -- isn't just how you reopen when people are dying.

ROY: I get it. Brianna, let's talk about the emergency rooms, ICUs in Austin, Texas. And 28 people in the main hospital there. The people in ICUs, 25 are Hispanic.

Why is that? Because the Hispanic population is continuing to work in service jobs so that the people who, around Austin, Texas, drinking lattes and getting on Pelotons and stopping by Starbucks and Whole Foods, the service industry is still serving them.

Those people are getting sick because people think they can have their cake and eat it, too.

Dallas (ph) is getting slammed because we have people coming across our border, still wide-open borders because Nancy Pelosi refuses to secure the border.

And people come back and forth and people are infecting each other. And it's a bad hot spot. I agree.

KEILAR: I don't think Nancy Pelosi is in charge of the border.

But I want to get back to this meeting because your colleague --


ROY: A year ago, Nancy Pelosi prohibiting us securing the border.

KEILAR: -- says Liz Cheney should step down or removed from her position on Republican leadership. Do you share that sentiment? Do you agree with Gaetz?

ROY: This is a lot about palace intrigue about what's said in Washington. I'm not calling for Liz Cheney to step down. Liz is a friend.

We need to have a robust debate, unlike my colleagues on the Democratic side of the aisle, who are in lockstep with open borders. They love sanctuary cities. They love Antifa. They want statues getting toppled. Nancy Pelosi's response, oh, people will do whatever they do.

Go to Portland. City decimated. We should have policies that address that. And we're debating in the Republican conference.

KEILAR: How do you think the federal government's response is going to be now to coronavirus? ROY: Look, through the litany of things we've done in response.

Testing -- literally. We're testing more than the entire world combined.


KEILAR: OK. How do you think --


ROY: -- masks produced and -- go ahead.

KEILAR: You've seen results. Also seen outcomes. So you think everything's going -- you're touting accomplishments that they aren't meeting -- they aren't meeting what needs to be done for this. Do you think everything is fine?

ROY: Meeting what needs to be done? Right. A lot of things are thrown around allegations about what needs to be done. And we're talking about virus. Two years ago, in Texas, we had about 11,000 people die of the flu. Two years ago, 11,000 people died of the flu. We have about 4,000 die from COVID.

KEILAR: Do you think this is just the flu?

ROY: I'm not saying -- this is what you people love to do. Right?


KEILAR: I didn't bring up the flu. You brought up the flu.

ROY: Go look at the report by Stamford, walks through the differences. Flu is terrible for children. We had 150 people die of the flu, children, two years ago.

COVID virus, obviously worst for some more vulnerable. Nursing homes, 45 percent of deaths nationwide are nursing homes. We need to do a better job continuing to protect nursing homes in Texas and throughout the country.


KEILAR: What do you want to see from the federal government? Any improvement with how things are being done when it comes to coronavirus? I'm not hearing you say you do.


KEILAR: It sounds like you think the federal response is going well.

ROY: I think the federal government has done -- done extraordinarily well producing masks and testing, getting things out to the American people.

What's important, I don't think they've done a good enough job driving the message for the American people not to be afraid. I've seen polling suggesting that people who get the virus, 5 percent

die. It's not true. It's like 0.0003 percent.

We need to focus on where the vulnerable and not scare our kids. There was a report today that 68 percent of kids are going around with mental health issues and depression because we don't have them in our schools. We're scaring the begeezus out of our children for no reason.

KEILAR: In the south of you, it's 40 out of 100,000 people with COVID are dying. Right?

ROY: I understand --


KEILAR: That rate that you're touting is not true --


KEILAR: -- the very place near where you represent.

ROY: The South Valley, Rio Grande Valley in south Texas, you're trying to talk about, you're actually taking the fact we have an unsecured border, wide-open border, dealing with Mexico with serious issues with their virus and a significant problem in south Texas.

All of that circulating around because people are going back and forth from the border. You're trying to turn that on the point that of 333 Americans, the fatality rate in America is vastly less than a lot of places around the world, including Japan, places in Europe.

A lot of the places people are touting as great, our fatality rate is far less.

We're dealing with a crisis. Governor Abbott is dealing with it in Texas. There's a lot of things we'll continue to work through.

The bottom line is the American people need to go back to work and school and protect our seniors and most vulnerable and get our hands on the virus. If we need to set up --


ROY: -- field tents and field operations in the valley, great, let's do that.


KEILAR: The messaging right now -- I want to be clear. Texas currently is the fourth hardest-hit state in the country when it comes to number of cases. Right?


ROY: Number of -- cases -- number of cases, yes.

KEILAR: Let me finish my question.

What you want is, you want to be telling Texans and Americans don't be afraid. We want to reopen. Sounds like you're saying that.

I wonder when you have -- for instance, a lot of people who are afraid and you're aware of this -- do you really think that just -- do you think that saying that to them and not leveling with them is actually something that gives them the pause that they need to actually feel like they're getting the information and an honest picture from the representatives making them feel more comfortable opening up?

ROY: You're making my point. Call on researchers from Oxford and please call -- these are very smart people.

KEILAR: We have experts, a number of epidemiologists on CNN every day. You're aware of that.

ROY: I know. Call the epidemiologists who are raising legitimate questions about whether or not we should --


KEILAR: Look, we're talking about the White House task force. It's not like we're -- we're not deviating from any sort of accepted science here. This is what the White House task force is saying.

ROY: Right. But go talk to the doctors who are out there saying -- and very smart doctors -- Stamford, right -- not talking about --


KEILAR: -- the White House coronavirus task force?


KEILAR: You want a second opinion on the CDC?

ROY: I want second and third and fourth opinions on all --


KEILAR: It sounds like you just want to confuse people.

ROY: I want to know the truth, Brianna. When my doctor diagnosed me and said I had stage-three cancer nine years ago, I asked what my odds of survival were. He didn't give me a number. He told me, your odds are zero percent or 100 percent. You choose.

I think we're going to straight-up give them the information, not scaring the. We should tell them only two children died in Texas due to COVID that we're aware of so far and 150 died of the flu two years ago.

We have to be able to work through viruses in a way we don't cripple lives, shut down jobs, and by the way, cost lives. How many people are dying from depression, opioid abuse, lack of cancer screenings?

One of my friends got a stage-three cancer diagnose. She hasn't been getting her screenings. Why? We've been shutting down elective procedures, access to health care, all because this government has not done -- I think to answer your question -- a good enough job explaining to the American people the realities of what we're facing.

This is what we need to do. Explain the truth and not scare them. Not do what Governor Cuomo did and make everybody feel good and shoving sick people back into nursing homes, causing lots of people to die.

KEILAR: You mentioned the border. It is so bad in the U.S. that Mexico wants tighter border controls to keep Americans from bringing in the virus to Mexico. We need to be very clear about that.

ROY: I would love to work with Mexico to tighten our boarder security. Let's do it right now. Delighted to do that.

KEILAR: They're saying the issue is Americans, not Mexicans.

ROY: If we can work together to secure our boarder, I'd be delighted to do that. We're working on getting on top of this in Texas. The numbers are going in the right direction. We've been working to keep the curve flat, which is what everybody said we should do in March.


KEILAR: Have you seen your curve? That is not a flat curve?


ROY: We've been holding those numbers down. You tout the Cuomo --


KEILAR: Oh, that's just --


ROY: It's literally the exact opposite of what the experts said.

It's the exact opposite. Show the curve. It's literally the curve --


KEILAR: Sir, I so wish that when it came to Texas I could just put the curve up right now but I do not actually have that at my fingertips. That's how it works.


KEILAR: I don't think -- I do not think you are accurately representing what is happening across Texas.

But, Congressman, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

ROY: Appreciate it, Brianna. Happy to come on anytime.
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