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chief Pence

Pence says Chief Justice John Roberts has been a ‘disappointment’ to conservatives – CNN

(CNN)Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts “has been a disappointment to conservatives,” after Roberts, who was appointed by a Republican president, sided with liberal justices this term in several major cases seen as losses for the Trump administration.

“Look, we have great respect for the institution of the Supreme Court of the United States, but Chief Justice John Roberts has been a disappointment to conservatives,” Pence said in an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody set to air in full Thursday.
He cited Roberts’ 2012 move to uphold the Affordable Care Act and the chief justice’s recent siding with liberals to deny a petition from a Nevada church that argued a policy limiting in-person church attendance to 50 during the coronavirus pandemic violated the Constitution.
“I think several cases out of the Supreme Court are a reminder of just how important this election is for the future of the Supreme Court,” Pence told CBN.
The vice president also pointed to the Supreme Court’s decision in June to strike down a controversial Louisiana abortion law that critics said would have closed nearly every clinic in the state. Roberts delivered a fifth vote to the liberals — the first time the chief justice had voted against an abortion restriction.
Pence on Wednesday said it was a “wakeup call” for anti-abortion voters, “who understand in a very real sense the destiny of the Supreme Court is on the ballot in 2020.”
In this past Supreme Court term, Roberts also sided with an opinion that extended anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ workers and upheld the program allowing undocumented immigrants who came into the US as children to remain.
In June, after the two defeats, President Donald Trump said he would release a new list of conservatives he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court — a tactic he used in 2016 to rally Republicans.
“Based on decisions being rendered now, this list is more important than ever before,” Trump tweeted.
Pence told CBN that Trump will “keep his word and appoint more principled conservatives to our court” if elected to a second term.

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Checking Pence

Fact Checking Mike Pence on the Coronavirus Pandemic – The New York Times

Fact Check

The vice president falsely claimed that increased testing “is generating” more cases, among other exaggerations and inaccurate claims.

Credit…Michael A. McCoy for The New York Times

Linda Qiu

Vice President Mike Pence defended the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic at a news briefing on Friday and sounded notes of optimism, while acknowledging that cases were rising “precipitously” in the South.

Here’s a fact check of some of his claims.

What Was Said

“As we stand here today, all 50 states and territories across this country are opening up safely and responsibly.”

False. While most states are continuing with their reopening plans, several have paused or reversed course this week as the number of new cases nationally surged to new highs and the virus spread at worrisome rates in a number of places.

On Friday, Texas ordered its bars and rafting and tubing businesses to close, limited restaurants with dine-in service to 50 percent of indoor capacity, and generally required gatherings of at least 100 people to seek approval. Florida has also banned drinking at bars, while Maine postponed reopening indoor bar service.

Louisiana extended its Phase 2 of reopening for an additional 28 days, maintaining occupancy limits and social-distancing requirements for most businesses and houses of worship. North Carolina and Nevada also extended Phase 2, while New Mexico delayed entering it.

Idaho announced this week that it would remain in Stage 4, the last phase of its reopening plan, for at least another two weeks.

What Was Said

“We flattened the curve.”

False. This claim, while true in earlier months, is now outdated. Cases are now rising in the United States. While the seven-day average of new cases had declined and held steady from late April to May, the number began to climb in recent weeks. The United States reported 36,975 new cases on Wednesday and 41,113 new cases on Thursday — setting daily records both days.

Flattening the curve generally “refers to avoiding a collapse in the health care system, which we were able to do in March and April,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, a professor of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins University. “What we’re seeing now is a new surge in cases and more than just cases, it’s serious illnesses.”

Dr. Sharfstein pointed to the announcement this week by the Texas Medical Center in Houston that all of its beds in its intensive care unit were occupied as a sign that “we’re in a very bad situation here in June.”

What was said

“In the midst of all of that, I think it always bears saying that because of the great work of our health care workers and because of American manufacturing, no American who required a ventilator has ever been denied a ventilator in the United States.”

True. The New York Times was unable to find any news reports about any patients who were unable to be treated with a ventilator. As of late April, representatives of 30 states told PolitiFact that they were not aware of any cases. A spokesman with the American Health Association said Friday that Mr. Pence’s claim was accurate “to the best of our knowledge.”

What Was Said

“As we reported early on, 34 states across the country though are experiencing a measure of stability that is a credit to all of the people of those states, and when we speak about stability, we are talking about not necessarily states where there are no new cases, but these would be states where there are either no new cases and no rising percentage or no combination of those two things.”

This is exaggerated. Data compiled by The New York Times shows that, as of Friday, the number of new cases is rising in 29 states and Guam, while it is steady in 11 and decreasing in 10 states as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

What Was Said

“We want the American people to understand it’s almost inarguable that more testing is generating more cases. To one extent or another, the volume of new cases coming in is a reflection of a great success in expanding testing across the country.”

False. Ramped up testing alone does not account for the uptick in cases. Rather, the virus’s spread is generating more cases.

  • Updated June 24, 2020

    • Is it harder to exercise while wearing a mask?

      A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.

    • I’ve heard about a treatment called dexamethasone. Does it work?

      The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.

    • What is pandemic paid leave?

      The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.

    • Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 happen?

      So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.

    • What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

      Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

    • How does blood type influence coronavirus?

      A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      The unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, the Labor Department said on June 5, an unexpected improvement in the nation’s job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists expected. Economists had forecast the unemployment rate to increase to as much as 20 percent, after it hit 14.7 percent in April, which was the highest since the government began keeping official statistics after World War II. But the unemployment rate dipped instead, with employers adding 2.5 million jobs, after more than 20 million jobs were lost in April.

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.


“Several communities are seeing increased cases driven by multiple factors, including increased testing, outbreaks and evidence of community transmission,” Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testified to Congress this week.

If the rise in cases was solely attributable to more testing, the rate of positive test results would decrease or at least hold steady. But while the number of daily tests performed has steadily increased from under 100,000 in March to 460,000 to 640,000 this week, the positive rate had fallen from 10 to 20 percent in early March to about 4 percent in early June before climbing back up to 5 to 7 percent this week.

Increased testing in other countries has not produced the uptick in the positivity rate seen in the United States. Russia, for example, has ramped up its testing to about 300,000 a day in recent weeks from about 200,000 in May. But its positive rate has continued to hover at around 3 to 5 percent.

In states with the most severe outbreaks, that trend is starker still. Positive rates in Texas and Florida have increased to 10 to 20 percent this week from rates that were generally below 10 percent in May — a reality the Republican governors of both states have acknowledged.

“Clearly you’re seeing this, this is real,” Gov. Rick DeSantis of Florida said during a news conference on Tuesday. “Now they are testing more than they were for sure, but they’re also testing positive at a higher rate than they were before. And so that would tell you there’s probably been an escalation and transmission over the last seven to 10 days.”

Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas acknowledged the same point.

“If you look at the growth or even the decline in the number of people who were testing positive as well as the positivity rate all the way through the early part of May, Texas was moving in a very productive position,” he said on Monday. “Then around the time of Memorial Day, there was an increase, and that increase has maintained for several weeks now, necessitating that next steps be taken.”

What Was Said

“Fatalities are declining all across the country.”

This is misleading. While official death counts are most likely underreported, Mr. Pence is right that nationwide, deaths are continuing to decrease, though fatalities are rising or holding steady in several states such as Arizona, California, Florida, North Carolina and Texas.

Moreover, public health experts have urged caution that this will continue to be the case. Asked whether still declining fatalities were because of younger, healthier people contracting the disease, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told Congress this week that it was “too early to make that kind of link.”

“Deaths always lag considerably behind cases,” he said. “You might remember that at the time that New York was in their worst situation where the deaths were going up and yet the cases were starting to go down, the deaths only came down multiple weeks later.”

Curious about the accuracy of a claim? Email factcheck@nytimes.com.

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declare Pence

Pence tries to declare coronavirus over as Trump pushes reopening and campaigning – CNN

(CNN)Vice President Mike Pence, the leader of the administration’s coronavirus task force, is publicly painting a rosy picture of the pandemic through his words and actions amid President Donald Trump’s push to reopen the country and resume campaigning.

But despite the administration’s efforts to declare the pandemic over, 18 states are currently experiencing an increase in cases. And health officials have implored Americans to heed task force guidelines — including wearing a mask and social distancing — to slow the spread, and a key model used by the White House is now projecting more than 200,000 deaths by October.
“We may be done with the pandemic, but the pandemic is not done with us,” Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said during a STAT Conversation on Tuesday.
“It makes sense why so many Americans are feeling like we’re done, and they’re feeling a certain sense of apathy,” he said.
Jha said it boils down to three things.
“First, is that they were told that if we shut down and really kind of bend the curve, that we will we will be passed the worst and everything will work out,” he said.
Secondly, early data and models “seemed to imply that all of a sudden the virus would go away in June, July and August.” But that’s not likely.
And third, Jha said Americans are over it because of “communication from our president, who has clearly has moved on.”
“The reality is that the virus is with us. The reality is that the first wave only hit a small number of places — now it’s coming to every other place. It’s coming to a county or a city or a state near you,” Jha said.

Pence makes the case

On Monday, Pence urged governors to take increased testing into account for increased cases. And on Tuesday, he penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal claiming there is “no second wave” of coronavirus. Pence also traveled to Iowa Tuesday, where he had lunch at a local restaurant with Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and made remarks at Winnebago Industries touting US “recovery.”
At the restaurant, neither Pence nor Reynolds nor the restaurant’s owner or patrons wore a mask, and he did not practice social distancing as he greeted diners. Pence also openly flouted social distancing guidelines last week with a trip to Trump campaign headquarters, posting a since-deleted photo with a large group of tightly clustered campaign staff, none of whom wore masks.
Pence attributed a rise in US coronavirus cases to an increase in testing during a Monday call with the nation’s governors. But those comments came in the context of an extensive conversation between Pence, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Dr. Deborah Birx on rising cases that weren’t attributed to increased testing.
“I would just encourage you all, as we talk about these things, make sure to explain to your citizens the magnitude of increase in testing and in that, in most of the cases where we are seeing some marginal rising number, that’s more a result of the extraordinary work you’re doing, expanding testing using that public-private partnership that the President forged months ago,” Pence told the governors, according to audio of the call obtained by CNN.
Increasing the numbers of tests is likely to find more cases. Another key figure is the rate of positive tests — if it’s high or growing, it indicates a community isn’t doing enough of the testing needed to identify and isolate cases, which is what can slow an outbreak. While a state’s overall case numbers or positivity rates may appear steady or improving, more specific data is required for particular communities to understand where outbreaks are occurring and at risk of growing.
Pence also said on the call that there are specific areas where there has been “some increase in cases that are not necessarily accounted for entirely by an increase in testing,” pointing to areas in North Carolina, California and Arizona, where, he said, the CDC has redeployed additional personnel.
An official familiar with the work of the task force was more blunt and told CNN that the surge in cases is also due to more infections.
“They just don’t want to deal with the reality of it,” the official said of Trump, Pence and other top officials. “They’re in denial.”
And a senior US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official told CNN that Pence is selectively choosing data to make his point.
“I don’t know what his source is on that information, but that’s not accurate,” the senior CDC official said of Pence’s assertion that only a small percentage of places in the US are seeing an uptick in cases. “You can cherry-pick a handful of counties and use that as way to say things are not as bad as they look. But that’s not the reality.”
The senior CDC official added, “Our data shows that there continues to be spread, particularly in communities of color. It’s both higher rates and disproportionate numbers. By state, the numbers are absolutely increasing and they’re increasing in states that opened up earlier.”
Azar pointed to concerns about increased trends in positive testing in certain areas.
“We have been concerned about looking at data showing in many states, increasing trends of cases, but increasing trends of positive testing … that causes us to take a very deep dive at the data at a county level, and it reveals that we do have issues going on at particular counties in states,” Azar said.
“My message just would be as governors, you can’t just be looking at your state level data to feel that you’re in a good position, you’ve gotta actually get down to the county level because that’s where you’re going to see if you’re facing an actual outbreak scenario that might be meatpacking, nursing homes, and might be of other origin,” he added.
Birx did explain that because of an increase in testing, more cases, including asymptomatic and presymptomatic cases, are being found in the community, rather than in hospitals.
“So, I don’t ever get discouraged that the case numbers are going up when you’re test positivity rate is going down. Really an extraordinary job you’re doing and I think you should be commended for that. We do have isolated counties, and I’m just gonna mention a couple of them,” she said.
Birx said that North Carolina’s Wake County and Mecklenburg County, where the Republican National Convention was scheduled to be held later this summer, were experiencing increased positivity.

‘Such panic is overblown’

And in the Wall Street Journal, Pence blamed the media for inciting “panic” regarding a second wave of coronavirus.
“In recent days, the media has taken to sounding the alarm bells over a ‘second wave’ of coronavirus infections. Such panic is overblown. Thanks to the leadership of President Trump and the courage and compassion of the American people, our public health system is far stronger than it was four months ago, and we are winning the fight against the invisible enemy,” Pence wrote, citing expanding testing, supply production and medical research.
Hundreds of Americans continue to die from coronavirus each day, and many public health experts, including the administration’s own experts, are predicting a second wave.
The latest coronavirus forecast by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington takes into account seasonality predictions. The institute’s model has been frequently cited by the White House.
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation director Dr. Christopher Murray said “seasonality will be a very big driver of the second wave, we believe,” during a briefing last week outlining a death toll model that has since been increased.
“The increase in daily deaths really starts to gather more momentum from mid-September, onwards,” Murray said.
And Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, warned of the importance of the flu vaccine in the context of a second wave earlier this month, telling a House Appropriations Committee hearing: “If a second wave of coronavirus hits when flu season is under way, it could really strain hospitals.”
Pence touts roughly 500,000 tests performed each day, and 23 million tests total, in the op-ed, though that is far short of what experts say is needed. He also claimed that the US is “well on our way to having a viable vaccine by the fall,” though Dr. Anthony Fauci has suggested that timeline is too soon.
During an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer last week, Fauci expressed confidence that a trial will have accrued a large number of subjects and there will be an answer on whether it works “by the end of the year.”
But, he cautioned: “There is never a guarantee that a vaccine — and we have multiple candidates, it isn’t just one — that is going to be safe and effective.”
After crucial weeks when the President downplayed coronavirus earlier this year and actively lied to Americans about its potential impact, losing time as the virus spread to the US, the administration hamstrung key efforts by the CDC to mount a coordinated response to the pandemic.
Yet Pence on Tuesday blamed the media, which has sought to provide information from those experts to the American people, for fear-mongering.
“The media has tried to scare the American people every step of the way, and these grim predictions of a second wave are no different,” Pence wrote.
It points to an administration that is taking political considerations ahead of public health.
Trump and Pence are set to hold a packed rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, later this week, where social distancing will be unlikely and face masks will be optional.
“It really is time, Ainsley, for us to begin this campaign. The President wants to be out, he wants to be connecting to our supporters. Literally over a million people have signed up to try and obtain the opportunity to come and attend the rally,” Pence said during an appearance on Fox News Tuesday.
“The freedom of speech, the right to peacefully assemble is enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution and the President and I are very confident that we’re going to be able to restart these rallies to tell the story of what the president has done thorough these unprecedented times but also over the last three and a half years,” he continued.
The administration official close to the task force said it has not been asked to give their blessing to the campaign rally.
“They know better,” the official said.
This story has been updated with additional reporting Tuesday evening.

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commends Pence

Pence commends Americans’ ‘great personal sacrifices’ amid pandemic in Memorial Day op-ed | TheHill – The Hill

Vice President Pence on Monday hailed Americans for their courage and sacrifice amid the coronavirus pandemic in a Memorial Day op-ed.

In the column published on FoxNews.com, Pence thanked members of the military and veterans for their service while calling on U.S. citizens not to take for granted the freedoms that they enjoy.

“While our doctors, nurses, health care workers and first responders rendered care for our families as if they were their own, the American people stayed home from school, from work and from worship. Some closed down a business that took a lifetime to build. They have canceled weddings and graduations. They have foregone seeing parents, grandparents and loved ones,” Pence wrote. “This Memorial Day, the American people have just come through a lot.”

“From the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, the American people have made great personal sacrifices to protect the health and safety of our nation,” the vice president continued. “In a very real sense, the American people have been willing to voluntarily forfeit aspects of their personal freedom to protect the lives and safety of their family, their neighbors and people they’d never met.”

Pence’s comments come as non-essential businesses around the U.S. have been shuttered for weeks while state governors have implemented and even in some cases renewed stay-at-home orders that have kept millions out of work. The coronavirus has sickened more than 1.6 million Americans so far and killed nearly 100,000.

His remarks struck a softer tone than those from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: ‘Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart’ GOP sues California over Newsom’s vote-by-mail order MORE in recent days, who has called for states to reopen economies and schools at a faster rate.

Pence concluded his op-ed Monday by calling on Americans to remember the names of fallen service members and their families, who he said made “the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”

“Now more than ever, we will remember and honor all the men and women throughout the generations who defended our freedom at the cost of their lives. We will also remember the families of the fallen for whom every day is Memorial Day and assure them that our nation will never forget or fail to honor their loved ones,” he wrote. “And as we remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, we will also remember and pray for all those serving today in the Armed Forces of the United States.”

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Pence SpaceX

Pence: SpaceX astronaut launch marks ‘new era’ in space exploration – Fox Business

Vice President Mike Pence praised the astronauts who will launch into space on a SpaceX rocket next week, calling them “trailblazers of a new era.”

The mission, which will be the final test for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, will mark the first time American astronauts have launched in an American-made spacecraft from U.S. soil since 2011, when the Space Shuttle program ended.

Vice President Mike Pence chairs the Seventh Meeting of the National Space Council at NASA Headquarters in Washington, Tuesday, May 19, 2020. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is at left. (Tom Brenner/Pool via AP)

THESE ARE THE ASTRONAUTS SPACEX WILL LAUNCH IN ITS FIRST MANNED MISSION

“America is leading in space once again,” Pence said.

The vice president made the remarks at the seventh meeting of the National Space Council at NASA headquarters. He was joined via video by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, who will crew next week’s mission.

“We are very excited about this program,” Bridenstine said.

Vice President Mike Pence chairs the Seventh Meeting of the National Space Council. From left on video are NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley. (Tom Brenner/Pool via AP)

SPACEX TO LAUNCH NASA ASTRONAUTS IN HISTORIC MISSION

The eventual goal is to return humans to the surface of the moon in 2024, according to Bridenstine. For now, Hurley and Behnken will be traveling to the International Space Station aboard the new SpaceX spacecraft.

The launch is scheduled for 4:33 p.m. Eastern time Mary 27 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA is “encouraging people to watch from afar” due to the coronavirus, Pence said.

Pence pointed to the launch as an example of how some areas are beginning to reopen from the coronavirus pandemic shutdowns, calling it a “time of great hope.”

Separately, Pence said he is not taking hydroxychloroquine as an effort to avoid catching the coronavirus, unlike President Trump.

The vice president told FOX News’ Kristin Fisher Tuesday his doctor hadn’t recommended the malaria drug to him but he “wouldn’t hesitate” if his physician told him to use it.

The effectiveness of the drug in the face of COVID-9 has not been determined, and the Food and Drug Administration has warned about its use.

“I’ve heard anecdotal stories of Americans who’ve taken hydroxychloroquine in the midst of the coronavirus and, and, and sense that it made a real difference for them,” Pence said.

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Clinic Pence

Pence: ‘I should have worn a mask at the Mayo Clinic’ – POLITICO

Vice President Mike Pence. | Alex Brandon/AP Photo

Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday said that he should have worn a mask when visiting the Mayo Clinic, a reversal that came after a harsh backlash for not adhering to the hospital’s policy during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I didn’t think it was necessary, but I should have worn a mask at the Mayo Clinic and I wore it when I visited the ventilator plant in Indiana” two days later, Pence said at a Fox News virtual town hall on Sunday, nodding sheepishly.

Pence on Tuesday toured the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he met with hospital staff and a patient. According to reporters who were there, every other person present wore a mask.

The vice president has said since he is constantly tested for coronavirus and since the mask prevents people from transmitting the virus, he didn’t believe he had to wear one. He reiterated that belief at Sunday’s town hall.

But his decision not to don a mask at the health center was widely criticized on social media, including by many public health experts.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recommended that all Americans wear cloth face masks in public settings where social distancing might be difficult. The Mayo Clinic on April 13 announced its own policy requiring that visitors wear masks.

Karen Pence, the vice president’s wife, defended her husband, saying he was unaware of the clinic’s rule. But a Mayo Clinic spokesperson told POLITICO that Pence and his team had been briefed about the mask policy prior to arriving.

The clinic’s Twitter account had put out a statement saying the same, before later deleting it and instead posting: “We look forward to continued collaboration to develop essential testing and treatment for our patients and communities.”

On Sunday, Pence said, “It really is a statement about the American people, the way people have been willing to step forward, practice social distancing, wear masks in settings where they can’t do that.”

He added, “As we continue to practice those principles, all of us together, I know we’ll get through this.”