Trump made the comment on Wednesday during a news conference to announce his invocation of the 1950 Defense Production Act to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The rarely used law allows the government to order private companies to produce items to be used during a threat to national security. The businesses will be required to produce medical equipment, testing supplies and anything else deemed beneficial to the effort.
“I view it as, in a sense, a wartime president. I mean, that’s what we’re fighting,” Trump said. “It’s a war. … It spread violently. It’s a very, very contagious virus.”
Whoopi Goldberg brought up the moment during the daytime talk show’s “Hot Topics” segment on Thursday morning.
“He’s right to call this a war, is he not?” Goldberg, who appeared via satellite, questioned. Guest host Sara Haines added she didn’t care about semantics as long as everyone is taking the pandemic seriously.
“I don’t care what he calls it. It just needs to be taken seriously,” she said, while Meghan McCain agreed.
Hostin was the lone dissenter.
“I think people are now at a point now where they’re realizing the severity of the situation, but I’m very uncomfortable with this president saying that he is a wartime president,” Hostin replied. She cited his lackluster response at the start of the outbreak.
“Because in my view, last week he said he wouldn’t take any responsibility for the significant delay in the country’s coronavirus testing capabilities,” she continued.
The lawyer also mentioned Trump’s history of dodging the draft during the Vietnam War.
“And you have a president who is notorious for being a draft dodger when it came to Vietnam and, you know, getting these bone spur deferments,” Hostin added. “And to sort of reframe his legacy when it comes to the coronavirus response as a wartime president, I’m very uncomfortable with. Because wartime presidents take responsibility for their failures, and he has been unwilling to do that.”
Haines restated her point but Hostin wasn’t moved. McCain later said she did not care what language was used.
“I think he’s a liar-in-chief and I refuse to give him the moniker of a wartime president,” Hostin concluded after insisting language is important. “He doesn’t deserve that.”
Watch the segment below: