News networks like MSNBC and CNN have started to cut away from parts of the daily White House COVID 19 briefings complaining that they are more like campaign rallies than information sessions.
Vice President Mike Pence, who President Trump has placed in charge of the Coronavirus task force, has continued his particular brand of Trump adoration, ascribing all sorts of decisive actions to the President that may or may not be entirely factual. In a briefing last week, Pence sought in his remarks to subtly back-date when Trump took the Coronavirus epidemic seriously. In his briefing remarks Pence mentioned the president 29 times; variously portraying him as a leader who:
- Foresaw the seriousness of the situation and decisively added 30 days to social distancing, not as has been reported, only reluctantly agreeing to the measure after strong representations for medical experts.
- Developed coronavirus guidelines for America
- Made 29 disaster declarations
- Reflected on the struggle’s hospitals are experiencing
- Sent 4400 ventilators to New York
- Unveiled a new Coronavirus test after determination that the previous test was antiquated
- Took action on the COVID situation as early as January
Following are some excerpts from Pence’s March 31 remarks:
I know I speak on behalf of the President and people all across this country when I express our great admiration and appreciation to both of you for helping to steer our nation through this challenging time.
The American people have now seen what the President saw when he made the decision at the end of “15 Days to Slow the Spread” to ask the American people to give us 30 more days to continue to put into practice the President’s coronavirus guidelines for America. And as you just heard from the experts, we have reason to believe that it’s working.
as the President has just reflected, who we know are struggling at this hour in hospitals across the nation.
what you can do to protect your health, the health of your family; what you can do to ensure that our healthcare providers have the resources and our hospitals have the capacity to meet this moment is put into practice: the President’s coronavirus guidelines for America.
And since we were last together, the President and I have spoken directly to several governors around the country, including Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, and other states.
The President has declared 29 major disaster declarations and authorized 10 different states to use full federal funding, so-called Title 32 funding, to pay for their National Guard.
At the present moment, as the President said, we’ve distributed more than 11.6 million N95 masks, more than 8,100 ventilators around the nation, millions of face shields, surgical masks, and gloves.
We initiated an air bridge that the President announced yesterday. Flights have arrived in New York, one arrived in Illinois yesterday, and a flight will arrive in Ohio in the next 24 hours.
This is in addition to more than 4,400 ventilators that the President and FEMA directed to the state of New York.
And I’m absolutely confident, seeing the way our governors are responding and seeing this team the President has assembled in the White House Coronavirus Task Force, confident of the prayers of the American people that we’ll get through this. But it will take all of us doing our part, and we’ll get through it together.
The test the President unveiled yesterday, the Abbott Laboratories test – which is a 15-minute test –
And that’s precisely why President Trump is asking every American to continue to put these guidelines into practice for 30 more days.
And because a month ago, or more, the President brought together the top commercial labs in America and said we need you to partner with us to create a brand-new system that would rapidly process tests, we’re now at 1.1 million tests, and we believe it’s a fair estimate that we’re testing about 100,000 Americans a day. But I think the misunderstanding early on was there were many tests being distributed, many test kits being sent, but under the old system, as the President has described it – the antiquated system –
The recommendation of our health experts was to take the “15 Days to Slow the Spread” and have the President extend that to 30 days for every American. But at the President’s direction, the White House Coronavirus Task Force will continue to take the posture that we will defer to state and local health authorities on any measures that they deem appropriate.
The President made reference to the fact – January 31, he suspended all travel from China. The President’s initial efforts were designed at preventing the coronavirus from coming into the United States. .But we went from a prevention strategy the President acted on before the month of January was over to a mitigation strategy, which continues to this day. And I can assure you that the President and our task force are preoccupied with these issues and working with governor’s hour by hour to meet those needs.
And when the President signed the national emergency declaration, he stood up the National Response Center at FEMA. But because of the President’s decision to stand up a FEMA in the lead, we have a Coronavirus Task Force at the White House that’s bringing the President the very best health experts and recommendations from every agency.
If I may, Mr. President, I think your point is well taken. The Abbott Laboratories point-of-contact test was approved Friday. The President announced it in the Rose Garden on Sunday.
And I have to tell you that this team that the President has assembled, the advisors on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and then this team at FEMA – whether it be HHS Deputy Secretary Bob Kadlec, who’s coordinating all supplies; whether it be Admiral Giroir, who is literally working with every state on a county-by-county basis to deploy testing – is impressive. And The President and I spoke to governors in all the states and territories again yesterday. Again, the President’s vision here is FEMA’s vision, which is in response to a health crisis.