President Donald Trump put the nation's health first from day one as the dangers of the oncoming coronavirus pandemic were becoming aware, and when one looks at the timeline of his comments to Bob Woodward compared to his actions, that becomes clear, Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday.
"His approach saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives," Pence said on Fox News' "America's Newsroom," adding that Trump showed the kind of leadership "that you would expect from a president in a challenging time like this."
Trump enacted the travel ban from China a week before he told Woodward that he knew the virus was transmitted through the air, said the vice president, adding that Trump also told Woodward that he chose to play down the virus four days "after we shut down the entire American economy to put the health of Americans first."
He also rejected the argument that when Trump spoke on February 26 and compared the virus to the flu and that it was going to go away, that he could have harmed the ability to stop the virus' spread by not warning Americans of its dangers.
Pence continued that in the first week of February, work started on a virus, and within six weeks, clinical trials had begun, and "we believe that we're well on our way to having a coronavirus vaccine in record time before the end of this year."
Actions happened quickly once it became apparent the virus was dangerous, he added.
"You need to remember, too, that on the last day of February there were roughly 15 domestic cases of coronavirus in America, and a month earlier the president suspended all travel from China under a hailstorm of criticism from Joe Biden and the left," said Pence. "Two weeks later we would suspend essentially much of the American economy to put the health of our country first."
The administration also "reinvented testing" and now, more than 800,000 tests are being done a day.
Trump also believes that the country could not project weakness, and his tone was one of projecting calm and confidence, said Pence.
"I heard him at that podium and in every setting, we gave the American people the facts," he said. Pence also noted that he was in the Oval Office when Trump was being briefed on the coronavirus, and he considers Trump's suspension of all travel from China a "historic example of presidential leadership."
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