Devin Nunes claims he advised people to use pub drive-thrus

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Pubs do not typically have drive-thrus.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) on Monday attempted to excuse comments he made earlier this week urging people to go out to restaurants and pubs amid the coronavirus outbreak, blaming the media for "endangering lives."

"These media freaks don't have a clue what's going on out in the real world," Nunes told Fox News host Sean Hannity Monday night.

"What I was saying is you have empty restaurants. You can go through the drive-thru, you can do takeout. It's a great place to go. The media freaks can do what they want. But, you know, they're endangering lives here by continuing this panic when we have no food shortage in this country," Nunes said.

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Nunes was referencing comments he made on Sunday encouraging families to live normal lives despite self-quarantine and social distancing guidelines.

In that interview, he told another Fox News host, "There’s a lot of concerns with the economy here because people are scared to go out. But I will just say, one of the things you can do if you’re healthy — you and your family — it’s a great time to just go out, go to a local restaurant. Likely you can get in easily."

"Let's not hurt the working people in this country that are relying on wages and tips to keep their small business going," he added. "So, don't run to the grocery store and buy, you know, $4,000 of food. Go, you know, go to your local pub."

Nunes made no mention of takeout or drive-thrus. Pubs and bars typically do not have drive-thru options.

Hours later, California's governor had ordered the closing of all bars and pubs, and told restaurants to cut the number of customers they seat in half.

Nunes is one of several Republicans, including Donald Trump, who have ignored expert advice during the outbreak, encouraging people to make contact with one another or flout guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Trump, for example, has repeatedly shaken hands with visitors, and he refused to quarantine himself and his staff after they were exposed to people who had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), asked about what precautions he was taking, said he was taking none and offered to shake hands with reporters.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) advised constituents: "Be smart; don't panic. We will get us through this." He tweeted the message out with a picture of a bottle of Corona beer and a glass at a restaurant. 

The CDC has advised against any gatherings of 50 people or more, including "conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies." It also advises everyone, "Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.