Pelosi, Schumer preemptively call on Trump to lower flags once US reaches 100,000 coronavirus deaths

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Democratic congressional leaders on Thursday wrote to President Trump calling for him to lower flags to half-staff when the coronavirus death toll hits the grim 100,000 milestone -- describing such a move as a “national expression of grief.”

“This weekend, we will observe Memorial Day -- an occasion of great importance as we honor the men and women who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country,” the letter from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

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“As we pay our respects to them, sadly, our country mourns the deaths of nearly 100,000 Americans from COVID-19.  Our hearts are broken over this great loss and our prayers are with their families,” it reads.

“Respectful of them and the loss to our country, we are writing to request that you order flags to be flown at half staff on all public buildings in our country on the sad day of reckoning when we reach 100,000 deaths,” the leaders said. “It would serve as a national expression of grief so needed by everyone in our country.”

The letter comes as the death toll in the U.S. has reached 93,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, and is expected to exceed 100,000 next week. Trump had warned earlier this month that the death toll could hit 100,000, and has separately noted that 100,000 is significantly lower than estimates that suggested as many as 2 million could die if the government did not act at the onset of the crisis.

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"Look, we're going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people," he said. "That's a horrible thing. We shouldn't lose one person out of this."

Schumer and Pelosi made their request to Trump as their relationship with the White House has sunk to new lows. While Congress and Trump worked together on past bipartisan coronavirus relief measures, the leaders have since entered a round of name-calling.

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Pelosi said this week that Trump shouldn't take hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure against coronavirus as he is "morbidly obese." On Tuesday, Trump punched back.

"Pelosi is a sick woman," Trump said. "She's got a lot of problems -- a lot of mental problems."

Fox News' Marisa Schultz and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.