Former Pence

Former Pence aide says she will vote for Biden because of Trump’s ‘flat out disregard for human life’ during pandemic – The Washington Post

“The president’s rhetoric and his own attacks against people in his administration trying to do the work, as well as the promulgation of false narratives and incorrect information of the virus have made this ongoing response a failure,” she said in an interview.

Troye is the first Trump administration official who worked extensively on the coronavirus response to forcefully speak out against Trump and his handling of the pandemic. She joins a growing number of former officials, including former national security adviser John Bolton and former defense secretary Jim Mattis, who have detailed their worries about what happened during their time in the administration while declaring that Trump is unfit to be president.

The amount of criticism Trump has faced from former aides is unprecedented in the modern presidency, and it could pose a political risk to his reelection campaign as some of the aides who have spoken out are pressuring other former colleagues to join them.

The White House dismissed Troye as a disgruntled former employee, minimized her role on the task force and disputed her characterization that the pandemic response has not gone well.

“Ms. Troye is a former detailee and a career Department of Homeland Security staff member, who is disgruntled that her detail was cut short because she was no longer capable of keeping up with her day-to-day duties,” retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, Pence’s national security adviser, said in a statement. “Ms. Troye directly reported to me, and never once during her detail did she ever express any concern regarding the Administration’s response to the Coronavirus to anyone in her chain of command. By not expressing her concerns, she demonstrated an incredible lack of moral courage.”

Deputy White House press secretary Judd Deere said Troye’s “assertions have no basis in reality and are flat-out inaccurate” and that “the truth is President Trump always put the well-being of the American people first,” citing the president’s efforts to boost the production of medical equipment, his early recommendations on social distancing and the plan to quickly develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

Troye had an inside view of the White House’s pandemic response, which polls show is hurting the president with voters, and her review of the effort is scathing. She said in an interview that she would be skeptical of any vaccine produced ahead of the election because of worries that its release was due to political pressure.

“I would not tell anyone I care about to take a vaccine that launches prior to the election,” she said. “I would listen to the experts and the unity in pharma. And I would wait to make sure that this vaccine is safe and not a prop tied to an election.”

Though Troye played a behind-the-scenes role during her time in the White House, she was a major participant in the task force’s work, attending and helping to organize “every single meeting” it held from February until July, she said. She worked closely with Pence on the administration’s response, including establishing an agenda for each meeting, preparing the vice president and arranging briefings for him, writing and editing his comments, and dealing with the vice president’s political aides.

She was often pictured sitting against the back wall of the White House Situation Room near Pence in photos posted to social media. Her assistant would send the seating chart to officials across the administration, who in turn would consult with her about the workings of the group and Pence.

She described herself as a lifelong Republican who always voted for the party’s nominee before 2016. Troye said she did not vote for Trump, because she disliked his rhetoric. She declined to say whom she voted for in the last election.

“But I got past it and accepted he was our president,” Troye, 43, said of the election result.

Troye said that she worked in the administration because she hoped Trump would morph into a stronger leader after a divisive campaign and that she had respect for other Trump officials, such as Pence.

“I still have a lot of respect for the vice president,” she said. “I worked very loyally for him to do everything I could for him. I don’t want this to become a speaking-out-against-him thing.”

Asked about Troye’s comments later in the day, Pence said he was very proud of the administration’s performance.

“I haven’t read her comments in any detail. But it reads to me like one more disgruntled employee that has decided to play politics during election year,” Pence said.

Trump dismissed her charges Thursday evening. “I have no idea who she is,” he told reporters. “I never met her, to the best of my knowledge. Maybe she was in a room. I have no idea who she is. She doesn’t know me.”

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 6.6 million Americans and has killed nearly 200,000 — a toll Troye said has been exacerbated by what she called Trump and his administration’s mishandling of the pandemic and by the conflicting messages he and his top aides have disseminated to Americans on masks, social distancing and other public health precautions.

Trump, she said, usually was not focused on the virus but would often “blindside” the task force and administration officials with public comments, such as his support for the drug hydroxychloroquine, his Twitter attack on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the agency’s guidance on the reopening of schools, his skeptical comments about masks and his public musings about “herd immunity.” Many of his comments were the opposite of what had been discussed in the Situation Room, where task force meetings were often held, and were at odds with scientific recommendations or the administration’s own data, Troye said.

The administration, she said, missed months to slow the spread of the virus because the president and other key administration officials refused to embrace masks, even as members of the task force and health officials “repeatedly begged” Trump to do so. Trump allies note that many of the health officials first advised against masks before advising that they be used.

“The mask issue was a critical one. If we would have gotten ahead on that and stressed the importance of it, we could have slowed the spread significantly,” Troye said. “It was detrimental that it became a politicized issue. It still lingers today.”

Senior aides to Pence held a contemptuous view of the administration’s scientists and tried to project a far too rosy outlook about the virus with cherry-picked data — and key public health agencies including the CDC were marginalized throughout her tenure, Troye said. Advisers were afraid to express positions contrary to the president’s views because they feared a public denunciation or “that they would be cut out,” she said.

“At some point, every single person on the task force has been thrown under the bus in one way or another,” Troye said. “Instead of being focused on the task at hand, people were constantly wondering what was going to drop next or when you’re going to get reprimanded or cut out of a process for speaking out.”

Troye said the White House did not quickly resolve problems with coronavirus testing in the early months as the virus spread, though she concedes those hitches were not personally Trump’s fault.

Trump rarely attended task force meetings and was briefed only on top-level discussions by Pence or the government’s public health officials. When Trump attended one meeting, Troye said, he spoke for 45 minutes about how poorly he was being treated by certain personalities on Fox News.

“He spent more time about who was going to call Fox and yell at them to set them straight than he did on the virus,” she said.

Troye said Trump was constantly looking to reopen states and schools — even when others feared that doing so would be unsafe — and would regularly disregard what his advisers suggested.

“There were a lot of closed door conversations I have had with a lot of senior people across the administration where they agree with me wholeheartedly,” she said of her assessment of Trump.

Urging others to speak

With less than seven weeks until the election, there is a concerted effort by a coterie of former Trump administration officials to push more former aides to speak out, particularly boldface names who can secure national media attention and aides who can tell damaging stories in detail.

The president, for his part, has described many of those critical as “disgruntled former employees” who were not cut out for his administration. Administration officials note that a number of former employees also have praised the president extensively and that the president has overwhelming support in his own party.

Some former and current officials say they do not think ex-Washington officials will move many voters in key states. But Miles Taylor — who worked in the Department of Homeland Security between 2017 and 2019, including as chief of staff — said compelling narrators with first-person testimonials can influence voters.

“Is the voice of an ex-Trump official going to change millions of votes? No. But if you can change the minds of several tens of thousands of people in swing states, it could absolutely impact the election,” said Taylor, who has formed a Republican anti-Trump group called Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform (REPAIR).

Troye is joining the group, and on Thursday afternoon she released a video, through Republican Voters Against Trump, detailing her problems with Trump’s handling of the pandemic.

Taylor said it had been difficult to secure marquee names to speak out against the president because “the president has done a very effective job of creating a culture of fear.”

According to people familiar with their views, those privately critical of Trump include Mattis, former White House chief of staff John F. Kelly, former secretary of state Rex Tillerson, former top economic aide Gary Cohn and former homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. These people, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on behalf of these officials. The former officials either did not respond to requests for comment or declined to discuss their views.

Kelly is among those most torn about what to do, according to people who have spoken with him. They say he describes the president in derisive terms — as a narcissist who does not understand the military, cares only about his political fortunes and is unqualified to be president. Kelly declined to comment for this article but has told others he is undecided over whether he should speak out more before the election, citing his previous role in the military and his concern about generals speaking out against elected presidents.

Beyond the fear of being attacked, there are other reasons that former advisers have not spoken out publicly.

Some of them are still staunchly Republican — even if they dislike Trump — and do not want to publicly support Biden. Some, like Nielsen, would have to defend their own roles in some of Trump’s most contentious decisions.

Taylor said he is encouraging former officials such as Mattis and Kelly to see that now is the time to end their reticence.

“It took longer than it should have for every single one of us,” Taylor said. “All of us, myself included, should have spoken out sooner.”

Why Troye says she stayed

Troye said she expects sharp denunciations from former colleagues in the administration and also expects to be denigrated by the White House and the president on Twitter.

“Honestly, I am scared,” she said. “I have never done anything like this.”

Troye has long had an obscure profile in Washington — working behind the scenes at the Pentagon as a political appointee during the George W. Bush administration and then as a career official at the Homeland Security and Energy departments during the Obama administration before joining the vice president’s office in 2018 as an employee detailed from DHS.

Troye said she was disturbed by the president’s handling of myriad issues over two years — most notably his “military dictator, false prophet-like” march to St. John’s Episcopal Church for a photo with the Bible this summer after protesters were cleared from Lafayette Square.

Thoughts during her tenure of leaving gave way to other considerations, she said. Troye held a key role on the coronavirus task force but also carried out an array of other duties for the vice president, advising him on mass shootings, immigration, hurricanes and some foreign affairs issues, she said. The vice president would sometimes dial her cellphone, Troye said.

“I was the 24-hours-on-call person for major events for two years for him in the role,” Troye said.

In private, she said, Pence would say the “right things” in calls to governors and “was in an impossible situation with the president.” Troye also praised a number of the administration’s top health officials.

Troye said she and other advisers regularly encountered a desire on the part of the president and his political advisers, along with some senior members of the vice president’s team, to move on from the coronavirus even as thousands were dying and to focus on the economy or the campaign. She was asked by senior Pence aides, she said, to help on an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that minimized the fears of a second coronavirus wave and touted the administration’s work on the virus as a success story.

“It was ludicrous,” she said of the piece, which ran in June. Troye, however, said she helped write it.

There regularly were suggestions from Pence’s top political advisers for his coronavirus remarks “that I could just not support, and it became harder and harder to push back,” Troye said.

These advisers, Troye said, wanted to wind down the task force at the end of April. “In the middle of a pandemic, how could you do that?” she said.

She declined to name these Pence aides publicly but said there was consistent pressure from Pence’s senior officials to focus more on the economy and the reelection campaign. She added that she felt Pence’s top officials often showed derision toward the administration’s medical experts.

Asked about her own regrets, Troye said that she wished she had spoken out internally more often and that she had wrestled with many “sleepless nights” about her actions and time in the administration.

“I wished I had been more aggressive in fighting internal forces that were working against the CDC and other policies for the president’s personal agenda,” she said. “I wish I would have been more aggressive with the staff on the vice president’s team and some of the president’s staff.”

Greg Jaffe, Yasmeen Abutaleb and Ellen Nakashima contributed to this report.

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Pence weighs

Mike Pence weighs in on coronavirus vaccine timeline – Fox News

Mike Pence weighs in on coronavirus vaccine timeline – YouTube

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highlights Pence

RNC Day 3 Highlights: Pence Says Trump Will Bring Safety, Order – NPR

Vice President Pence speaks on the third day of the Republican National Convention at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. He stressed a law and order message as protests over racism and policing continue.

Andrew Harnik/AP

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Andrew Harnik/AP

Vice President Pence speaks on the third day of the Republican National Convention at Fort McHenry in Baltimore. He stressed a law and order message as protests over racism and policing continue.

Andrew Harnik/AP

Follow live coverage of the RNC all week at

President Trump’s campaign was forced to deal with sudden focus on two major news stories — mounting national unrest about racial injustice after another shooting of a Black man by police in Wisconsin, and Hurricane Laura, which is threatening “unsurvivable”storm surge — on the third night of the Republican National Convention.

Vice President Pence spoke to a live audience at Fort McHenry in Baltimore as the keynote speaker and loyal partner of the president’s. While he touched on both developments, his law-and-order message quickly pivoted to attack Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the Democratic leaders who threaten basic freedoms and an economy recovering from a coronavirus pandemic.

Republicans turned to several high-profile women to highlight issues like education, health care and the effort to combat the opioid crisis as a way to win back support from female voters, specifically suburban women, who helped the GOP win the White House four years ago.

As polls continue to show the president trailing Biden, the Trump campaign worked to make the November election a choice between two starkly different visions for America’s future, rather than running on the president’s record over the past four years.

Here are three takeaways from the third night of the RNC:

1. Republicans highlighted a law-and-order message as the nation grapples with racial unrest that speakers didn’t acknowledge

Convention organizers planned a focus on law and order, with a lineup of top Republicans describing the party’s commitment to law enforcement and support for the “thin blue line.”

But a dizzying series of developments once again focused the nation’s attention on issues of systemic racism and injustice. Jacob Blake, a Black man in Kenosha, Wis., was shot multiple times in the back by police on Sunday. The episode, caught on video, spurred protests in Kenosha for the past four nights, and Kyle Rittenhouse, a white male teenager, was arrested for killing two people at a protest.

How Trump's 'Law And Order' Message Has Shifted As He Seeks A 2nd Term

Wisconsin Dept. Of Justice Identifies Police Officer Who Shot Jacob Blake

In the hours leading up the convention, NBA teams boycotted playoff games, and Major League Baseball postponed some games.

Pence was the one speaker who did make a reference to the situation in Wisconsin, but he didn’t acknowledge the serious blowback that it triggered in communities across the country, or offer any commitment to address the underlying issues.

Instead he grouped it in with mentions of other incidents across the country in recent weeks. “Let me be clear: the violence must stop — whether in Minneapolis, Portland or Kenosha,” he said.

He vowed that the Trump administration stood for cracking down while Democrats didn’t favor a hard line. “We will have law and order on the streets of America. Joe Biden would double down on the very policies that are leading to unsafe streets and violence in America’s cities.”

He also warned, “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.” As they did earlier in the week, Republicans inaccurately argued that the Biden-Harris ticket would defund the police.

While Pence and other Republicans focus on violence related to protests, the demonstrations grew from outrage over police brutality, particularly shootings of Black people. The Trump administration’s use of the military to crack down on protests has also drawn criticism.

Several speakers used heated rhetoric about crime and threats to the suburbs — a strategy the president’s campaign has used in campaign ads, before the pandemic shifted the political conversation in the spring.

“From Seattle and Portland to Washington and New York, Democrat-run cities across this country are being overrun by violent mobs. The violence is rampant. There’s looting, chaos, destruction and murder. People that can afford to flee have fled. But the people that can’t — good, hard-working Americans — are left to fend for themselves,” South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said.

Crime Has Declined Overall During The Pandemic, But Shootings And Killings Are Up

While the mostly taped segments on Wednesday didn’t have time to specifically weigh in on the developments in Kenosha, several Black speakers were featured to push back on Democrats’ claims that President Trump is racist, and reach out to those who may feel uncomfortable with some of the president’s rhetoric.

Clarence Henderson, one of the civil rights activists who was part of sit-ins in the South in the 1960s, vouched for the president. “His policies show his heart. He has done more for Black Americans in four years than Joe Biden has done in 50,” he said.

Only 17% of registered Republican voters are nonwhite, according to data from the Pew Research Center. In comparison, 40% of Democratic voters are people of color.

Trump Campaign Trying To Win Over Black Voters, But President Remains A Tough Sell

2. Republicans featured speakers and messages aimed at regaining slipping support from suburban women

President Trump’s support from both college-educated and working-class white women helped him win key battleground states in 2016, but it has dropped significantly.

Wednesday’s program included a mother who advocated for school choice; second lady Karen Pence talking about her work promoting art therapy with veterans; and Lara Trump, the wife of Trump’s son Eric, boasting about the record low unemployment numbers for women since World War II.

Trump Shatters Ethics Norms By Making Official Acts Part Of GOP Convention

Kayleigh McEnany, White House press secretary, recounted her personal story of deciding to undergo a preventative double mastectomy in 2018 after being diagnosed with the genetic condition for breast cancer.

She said the president called her even though she had only met him a few times, saying she was “blown away” by his personal interest. The story was part of an attempt to show a softer side of the president. “I know him well now and I can tell you that this president loves the American people, stands by Americans with preexisting conditions, and supports working moms,” she said.

'People Are Anxious': Melania Trump Takes On Pandemic, Protests In RNC Speech

McEnany did not acknowledge that the Trump administration is supporting a lawsuit that would dismantle the requirement that insurers provide coverage to those with preexisting conditions.

Kellyanne Conway, who was the first female campaign manager to run a successful presidential campaign, cited Trump’s willingness to appoint women to top positions. She also addressed the opioid crisis, a crippling epidemic that has hit communities across the country.

“Rather than look the other way, President Trump stared directly at this drug ‘crisis next door’ and, through landmark, bipartisan legislation has helped secure historic investments in surveillance, interdiction, education, prevention, treatment and recovery. We have a long way to go, but the political inertia that cost lives, and the silence and stigma that prevents people in need from coming forward is melting away,” said Conway, who is stepping down at the end of the month.

Although the president and most speakers so far this week have largely avoided talking about the coronavirus pandemic, Pence, whom the president tapped to head up the coronavirus task force, followed first lady Melania Trump’s move to connect with people who are struggling after months of uprooted routines and economic hardship.

“After all the sacrifice in this … year like no other — all the hardship — we are finding our way forward again,” Pence said. “But tonight, our hearts are with all the families who have lost loved ones. We mourn with those who mourn, and we grieve with those who grieve.”

3. Republicans tried to shift the November election from referendum on Trump to a choice between starkly different visions

Reelection campaigns are traditionally a referendum on the incumbent president, but the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus in recent months has given Joe Biden a consistent lead in both national polls and polls in key battleground states.

Unable to gain traction on the administration’s record in recent months, the Trump campaign reverted to a traditional approach of framing the election as a choice — with speaker after speaker on Wednesday maintaining that Democrats were prepping a massive shift to government control over all aspects of life and trillions in dollars of tax increases, while the Trump-Pence ticket was preserving freedom and a good economy.

“Joe Biden would be nothing more than a Trojan horse for a radical left,” Pence said.

Scapegoats And Allies: How Trump Changed His Tune On States' Coronavirus Response

Iowa GOP Sen. Joni Ernst also used the frame in her remarks. “Freedom, prosperity and economic growth under a Trump-Pence administration; or the Biden-Harris path, paved by liberal coastal elites and radical environmentalists. An America where farmers are punished, jobs are destroyed and taxes crush the middle class.”

This strategy continued Tuesday night’s effort to juice the GOP base, with dire language. “Joe Biden would set America on a path of socialism and decline. But we’re not going to let it happen,” Pence pledged. (Read more about the rhetoric around “socialism” here.)

This effort is likely to be an uphill battle for the GOP. The Democratic ticket has worked to avoid getting into specific policy proposals and instead stuck to a slogan of “fighting for the soul of America.”

Progressive Democrats who have pushed for major new federal programs like “Medicare for All” and the Green New Deal have been frustrated that Biden hasn’t backed those sweeping proposals.

Biden emerged from the wide Democratic primary field as the more pragmatic choice who would be less vulnerable to attacks from the president, and more palatable to wavering independents and Republicans who are concerned about Trump’s policies, or more recently, his handling of the coronavirus.

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Addresses Pence

Pence Addresses Protests In Kenosha: ‘Rioting And Looting Is Not Peaceful Protest’ | NBC News – NBC News

Pence Addresses Protests In Kenosha: ‘Rioting And Looting Is Not Peaceful Protest’ | NBC News – YouTube

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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

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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, 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)


“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)


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.”