Vice President Pence on Thursday denied that the country’s response to the coronavirus was in any way “hampered” by President Trump “repeatedly downplaying the threat from the deadly disease.”
“Absolutely not,” Pence said on Fox News when asked if Trump’s public dismissiveness of the virus limited the ability of the U.S. to contain the pandemic.
The remarks come as the White House denies audio recordings of the president privately acknowledging the threat of COVID-19 as he allegedly downplayed it. The recordings were part of numerous interviews Trump gave to veteran journalist Bob Woodward for an upcoming book.
“His tone was one of projecting calm and confidence,” Pence said. “But I heard him at that podium, I heard him at every setting. We gave the American people the facts.“
Pence on Thursday cleared the air stating Trump has been a decisive leader during the pandemic and echoed the president’s own rationale that he did not want to incite panic by portraying the virus as a serious and imminent threat to American lives.
“The fact is I’m a cheerleader for this country, I love our country, and I don’t want people to be frightened. I don’t want to create panic, as you say,” President Trump said when asked if he downplayed the danger of COVID-19 to reduce panic. https://t.co/AtXvm9WDEi pic.twitter.com/ItalST90Co
— ABC News (@ABC) September 10, 2020
The vice president repeatedly praised Trump for his “historic” decision to bar some incoming travel from China in late January.
“I literally believe that the president’s decision to suspend China, the largest mobilization since World War II, and asking the American people to shut down our economy for 45 days to slow the spread to save lives is exactly the kind of presidential leadership that the American people hope for and pray for in times like this,” Pence said.
Meanwhile, Sleepy Joe Biden gave a campaign speech in North Carolina stating, “It’s not time to panic about coronavirus,” on February 28.
Joe Biden on February 28: "It's not a time to panic about coronavirus" pic.twitter.com/y5ZLeAFRal
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) September 10, 2020
The first excerpts of Woodward’s book, “Rage,” were released Tuesday, along with audio recordings of Trump’s interviews with the author.
“I don’t know if there’s ever been a more accessible president of the United States than President Donald Trump,” Pence concluded.