- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Diamond and Silk found themselves on the defensive Tuesday after the conservative commentators accused the news media of trying to make President Trump look bad by exaggerating the deadliness of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, the right-wing media personalities better known respectively as Diamond and Silk, said from their shared Twitter account that “nobody has the right” to make them feel like they cannot question how many people in the country have been killed by COVID-19, the highly infectious respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.

“People are dying from Coronavirus, but it is also being rumored that anybody that dies in a hospital for any cause is being counted as COVID 19,” they tweeted. “Is this true? We need answers!”



The duo’s tweet came on the heels of an internet broadcast over the weekend in which they claimed that unspecified members of the news media have inflated the disease’s nationwide death toll in an effort to hit at Mr. Trump over his handling of the outbreak.

Ms. Hardaway also suggested in the same broadcast that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was lying about the number of people dying in his state from COVID-19 and said that someone should call up morgues and funeral homes to prove the Democrat wrong.

Those remarks were made in a video streamed on several digital platforms Sunday as the death toll attributed to the coronavirus grew across the country, more than two months after the first domestic COVID-19 case was reported in Washington state.

Ms. Richardson noted during the broadcast that it was more than a month after the nation’s first case of COVID-19 before a related death was reported, but that “over 1,000 people supposedly died” from COVID-19 during a recent two-week span.

She also suggested that Mr. Trump saying last week that he wanted the U.S. to be “opened up and just raring to go” by the middle of next month caused members of the media to exaggerate the number of coronavirus-related deaths occurring.

“At the time he said it there was 25,489 cases with 307 deaths. Instantaneously, you had the media calling President Trump out, he wanted open by Easter, he want this open by Easter — me and you was talking, I said now watch the number of deaths go up,” said Ms. Richardson.

“Right,” agreed Ms. Hardaway.

“Watch everything increase because they wanted to make it look bad in front of our eyes,” Ms. Richardson continued.

More than 184,183 people in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19, including about 6,000 who totally recovered and over 3,000 who died, according to data maintained by Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Cuomo said Wednesday afternoon that nearly half of the nation’s coronavirus-related deaths occurred in New York.

The duo known as Diamond and Silk gained prominence during the 2016 U.S. presidential race for being outspoken supporters of Mr. Trump. They maintain active and popular accounts on social media platforms, and they currently co-host a program aired on Fox Nation, a streaming service owned by Fox News Media.

Video of the duo’s remarks about the media uploaded to their Facebook and YouTube accounts had been viewed more than 70,000 times as of Tuesday.

Mr. Trump said in 2018 that the Diamond and Silk are “terrific people” and that he is “very proud of them, and their great success!”

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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