President Donald Trump announced last Wednesday that Vice President Mike Pence would be leading the administration’s response to the Coronavirus. Why? Who knows. It’s not as though he has any particularly apparent scientific experience. On issues ranging from climate change to LGBTQ identity, Pence refuses to even believe in science as a concept. This weekend on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper, Pence went so far that he defended Donald Trump Jr.’s completely and utterly baseless accusation that Democrats want the virus to kill millions of Americans just so they can stick it to the president.
Tapper asked Pence about the politicization of the situation, but the vice president refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing by Republicans. Tapper inquired:
‘You don’t think that Democrats want people to contract this disease, do you?’
Pence did not answer the question! Eventually, he got around to saying that he thought Trump Jr.’s remarks were “understandable,” and apparently, we’re supposed to trust the guy who thinks it’s understandable for the president’s son to accuse Democrats of harboring ambitions for mass death. They’ve all launched off into lunacy.
‘Well, I think what the president said earlier this week, and his charge to me is to remind the American people that the risk is low, to assure the American people that we’re ready, but also to say, as the president said, that this is no time for politics. And frankly, I think that was Don Jr.’s point that there has been some very strong rhetoric directed at the president.’
Tapper interjected to point out the “strong rhetoric” that Trump Jr. himself used. He commented:
‘You don’t think that was strong rhetoric? He said seemingly Democrats want millions of Americans to die from the Coronavirus.’
And Pence explained that nope, he thinks Trump Jr.’s comments were a-okay and perfectly understandable. He commented:
‘Responding to things that people have hurled is understandable. But what the president’s charged us to do… is to set the politics aside and to work the problem… and with the exception of some barbs being thrown by some of the predictable voices in the public debate on the left, the usual shots that the president will take… what I’m telling you is this is really a time for us to come together… We’re talking about real Americans dealing with the Coronavirus.’
“Real Americans”? As opposed to what exactly? Fake Americans?
"This is really a time for us to come together," Vice President Mike Pence says on concerns of politicizing the coronavirus. "Because remember, we are talking about the health and lives of the American people" #CNNSOTU https://t.co/zjPKX1S3nn pic.twitter.com/GcW3bsKBEC
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) March 1, 2020
While governor of Indiana, Pence presided over an HIV outbreak that coincided with his efforts to roll back public health services in the state. He is not equipped to handle the Coronavirus situation, no matter what platitudes he employs — yet here he is anyway.
The administration has requested some $2.5 billion in emergency funding to deal with the situation. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have derided the request as too little, and Democrats in particular have criticized the part of the plan that includes taking around half of that money from existing programs at the Department of Health and Human Services.