Tags: Coronavirus | Trump Administration | pence | coronavirus | spikes | South

VP Pence: Deferring to States on COVID-19 Response Has Been Right Action

mike pence speaks at the lectern during a briefing
Vice President Mike Pence speaks after leading a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services on June 26, 2020. 

By    |   Sunday, 28 June 2020 11:31 AM

Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday hailed “the principle of federalism” in fighting COVID-19 despite recent spikes in southern states that had a short lockdown and a quick reopening.

In an interview on CBS News’ “Face That Nation” that pressed the Vice President on the lack of a coordinated response, Pence insisted, “We believe that every state has a unique situation.”

“One of the elements of the genius of America is the principle of federalism, of state and local control. We've made it clear that we want to defer to governors. We want to defer to local officials, and people should listen to them,” he declared.

Host John Dickerson shot back, however, “the virus doesn't know federalism. A virus that hits in Texas is in New York tomorrow.”

“This is a problem that requires a coordinated national result, which is what these outbreaks are showing. And so to say, states should deal with them individually seems to miss the big fact, which is the virus can go wherever it wants,” Dickerson said.

But Pence disagreed.

“If we'd have taken that approach, we'd have never had the success that we had in the greater New York City area. We'd have never had the success in Michigan or New Orleans,” he said.

“Because from early on, we worked closely in partnership with governors to make sure that they had what they needed when they needed it, tailored to the unique circumstances in their states.”

Pence added that the outbreak spikes underway currently were preceded by six weeks of containment.

“I know there's a temptation to associate the new cases in the Sunbelt with reopening, but it's important to remember that- that states like Florida and like Texas actually began to open up in early May,” he said. “For the better part of six weeks, John, we did not see any significant movement.”

The Vice President also denied President Donald Trump has been downplaying the crisis.

“As we've arrived at this moment, it's clear across the Sunbelt that there's something happening, particularly among younger Americans,” Pence said. “And that's why we fully support [Texas GOP] Governor [Greg] Abbott's decision to close bars and limit restaurants.”

Dickerson replied that “bars should never have been open,” and pressed, “why not ask people to wear masks? … why doesn’t the president say that?”

Pence said, however, the administration has said that and Trump “has worn a mask.”

The Vice President was also hotly grilled on Trump’s mixed message on testing, saying if there was less the numbers of cases wouldn’t be so high.

“Why does the person with the best megaphone say things to undermine confidence in testing? It seems totally at odds with what you're spending all your day doing. This isn't a triviality. This is an important, crucial thing about testing,” Dickerson lectured.

Pence replied he disagreed that Trump was “repeatedly” undermining confidence in testing.

“He observed that the volume of new cases is in part a result of all of the rapid scaling of testing that we've done around the country,” Pence said.

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Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday hailed "the principle of federalism" in fighting COVID-19 despite recent spikes in southern states that had a short lockdown and a quick reopening....
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Sunday, 28 June 2020 11:31 AM
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