COVID-19: Mike Pence Ripped for Dismissing Surge in Cases

The vice president is drawing criticism for an op-ed  in The Wall Street Journal praising Trump’s leadership and slamming the media for sounding alarm bells over a second wave of infections. 

Vice President Mike Pence on June 12, 2020, at Oberg Industries in Sarver, Pa. (White House, D. Myles Cullen)

By Jake Johnson
Common Dreams

A day after encouraging governors to parrot White House falsehoods about why Covid-19 cases are spiking in states across the U.S., Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday dismissed fears of a devastating resurgence of the coronavirus as “overblown” — contradicting repeated warnings from the nation’s top infectious disease expert — and declared “we are winning the fight against the invisible enemy.”

In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Pence praised “the leadership of President Trump” and slammed the media for “sounding the alarm bells over a ‘second wave’ of coronavirus infections.”

“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. “The truth is, whatever the media says, our whole-of-America approach has been a success.”

The vice president did not mention the staggering Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. or the recent surge in cases reported by Texas, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Alabama, North Carolina, Oklahoma and other states.

Some critics said the headline of the op-ed — “There Isn’t a Coronavirus ‘Second Wave” — is accurate, but not in the way Pence intended.

“Pence’s point that there’s been gradual progress is correct, but he glosses over why experts are worried,” wrote Benjy Sarlin of NBC News. “It’s not just a ‘second wave,’ it’s that we never successfully ended the first and even a plateau means a horrifying number of deaths ahead.”

In a series of tweets late Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said the message of Pence’s op-ed is “as pathetic as it is reckless.”

“You’re just going to close your eyes, plug your ears, and pat yourself on the back for the public health catastrophe under your watch?” wrote Warren. “Coronavirus keeps spreading across the country. Hundreds of Americans are still dying every day… Pence shouldn’t be celebrating—he should be making a plan.”

“The White House ignored the threat of Covid-19 until it was too late to stop it, left states without the equipment to fight it, and didn’t track its spread to contain it,” Warren added. “Now they want to wave a magic wand and declare ‘Mission Accomplished.’ Wake up and get to work, VP Pence.”

According to The Washington Post, “nine states — Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, and Texas — reported either new single-day highs or set a record for seven-day new case averages on Tuesday.”

“At least 115,000 people in the United States have died from the coronavirus,” the Post noted, “and more than 2,126,000 cases have been reported.”

Amid the rise in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations, Trump on Tuesday touted the reopening of businesses in states across the U.S. and proclaimed, “We’ve done incredibly well.”

“We’re doing well,” Trump said in a speech at the Rose Garden of the White House. “Things are happening that nobody can even believe. Our country is opening up. And it’s opening up rapidly.”

Against the advice of Oklahoma public health officials, Trump is planning to hold an indoor campaign rally in Tulsa on Saturday—the president’s first major campaign event since the Covid-19 pandemic shuttered much of the country in March.

During a roundtable discussion in the Cabinet Room of the White House on Monday, Pence— who is planning to attend the Tulsa rally — falsely claimed that Oklahoma has “flattened the curve.” As The New York Times reported, the state has seen “an obvious and steep rise” in Covid-19 cases since relaxing social distancing measures last month, “making it one of 22 states where case counts were growing.”

Bruce Dart, executive director of the Tulsa health department, told the Times that Trump’s rally is “the perfect storm of potential over-the-top disease transmission.”

“It’s a perfect storm that we can’t afford to have,” said Dart.

In a column for The Week on Tuesday, Ryan Cooper wrote that contrary to Pence’s rosy depiction of the nation’s fight against Covid-19, “exponential outbreaks are clearly in progress once again in many states, and they could easily spread to others.”

“Judging from the eagerness of many states to ditch their lockdown measures, the continuously AWOL Trump administration, and the blitheness much of the population is showing about containment precautions,” Cooper warned, “it might even be more likely than not.”

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17 comments for “COVID-19: Mike Pence Ripped for Dismissing Surge in Cases

  1. June 20, 2020 at 10:34

    The entire collective US government (republicans, democrats, libertarians, independents, greenies) does not care whether some (or all) of us die by Covid-19 or any other means – in fact, “all the better to eat you with my dear”. Take a look here at home and around the world – do you see the US government providing anything close to humanitarianism? Heck no! That would mean taking money from their stinking, dirty rotten coffers (money they steal from us daily, by the way) to (gulp) ‘help’ someone. Rather than treating a person of color with the respect and dignity they deserve (afterall, this country was founded on their backs – literally), this government and its’ hired goons would rather kneel on their necks until they can no longer breathe, or beat them into sublime submission, or maim and disfigure beyond all recognition – better yet, shoot them in the face with rubber bullets (or real ones). This collective government enjoys seeing those of lesser status living in squalor, struggling to make ends meet – it makes them feel superior while they enjoy all of that decadent Dove chocolate they hoard in their freezers. Oh, and don’t get me started on starving children, disappeared indigenous, the rape of women, murder masquerading under the guise of military force around the world, the US propaganda machine, animals as the cause of this pandemic (think genetic engineering), or our lovely dying planet. We the people are allowing all of this degenerative behavior. We are permitting the likes of Pelosi, Schumer, Biden, Pence, Pompeo, Trump, (Sanders, AOC & the squad – who sold us and themselves out to tow the party line) and all the rest of those in our so-called government, to demolish what good is left in this country without so much as batting an eyelash. Shame on all of us collectively for allowing this to happen and for being complicit in our own demise at the bidding of these disgraceful individuals. Oh, and by the way, don’t plan on anyone coming to rescue us from this self-made, dire situation – it ain’t gonna happen…

  2. subhuti37
    June 18, 2020 at 17:36

    Pence reminds me of the people in the movie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Come to think of it, so do most Americans, living in a daze.

    • John R
      June 19, 2020 at 07:46

      I feel the same way S37. I don’t have any reason to believe that this will ever change.

  3. Jim Hartz
    June 18, 2020 at 14:54

    With what appears to be 6 lynchings in recent days, a better identifier for Trump might be LYNCHER-IN-CHIEF.

    Moreover, no one ever asks how many of these Killer Cops are veterans of our Wars of Choice in the Middle East, where their bullying instincts of not-quite-white persons could be ripened to the full.

    June 18, 2020 at 10:49

    You cannot really “rip” an ideologue or an ignoramus for maintaining nonsense.

    Pence happens to be both.

  5. michael888
    June 18, 2020 at 07:55 which has a running count of all cases by country, and by many US states, shows that over half of active US covid-19 cases are in the Eastern Corridor (VA to Massachusetts, including PA). Of the other 40 states for the other half of the country’s active cases, California (twice the population of NY), Texas (150% of NY’s population) and Florida (150% of NY’s population and also where many old people to retire to die) would be expected to eventually have the bulk of the US’s active cases and deaths. If proportional to NY’s active covid-19 cases (at 288,954 almost a quarter of the country’s 1,196,115 active cases), California, Texas and Florida would reach 1,444,770 or 120% of the present number of active cases.
    If the Eastern Corridor states have done a competent job despite their horrific active case numbers, it is almost inevitable that the virus will spread, and the old and vulnerable, if unprotected, will become seriously sick and/or die through the rest of the country as well. Fortunately children and most of those under age 60 have minimal symptoms and will survive even without taking any precautions. The concern is spreading the virus to the sick and old.

    • June 19, 2020 at 12:26

      Michael888, re your last sentence that this wasn’t seen early on is somewhat is a mystery. Perhaps the newness of the virus made them hesitant to put most of the effort in protecting the vulnerable and not scaring the hell out of everybody else. This pandemic will need to be looked at when it is controlled and we can expect some good case studies from the public health and political science folks in our universities. Expect the foreign policy folks will see it as an attractive area to study. Questions like why was the US hit so hard? Why some populations, as well? How did politics enter into the effort to control the pandemic? What opportunities were lost because of national rivalries?

  6. nietzsche1510
    June 18, 2020 at 04:52

    kakistocracy is the other name of the USA government, meaning “government by the worst”.

  7. Paul Eccles
    June 18, 2020 at 04:24

    Mission Accomplished folks! Let’s wrap this puppy up and gear up for election time. Who’s amped? I know I am!

  8. geeyp
    June 18, 2020 at 02:36

    Rep. Ron Paul says, and I quote: “There is something else going on here and it is in no way related to public health”.

    • LuciusPat
      June 18, 2020 at 19:09

      I agree…

  9. John R
    June 17, 2020 at 21:09

    God forbid that some accident or worse would befall our genius POTUS before the end of this term because if something unfortunate were to happen we’d get you know who to take his place as the president, a very frightening prospect considering how horrible it is already. How is it that the very worst among us get these jobs in government ? Are we THAT stupid and blind ?

    • Manifold Destiny
      June 18, 2020 at 05:42

      Great question, John R, one that I have been pondering for many years. My pea brain can come up with two possible reasons, neither of which are very comforting for our future (as nation-states or species).

      1] It seems the personality type that seeks higher office is of the authoritarian/narcissistic nature. The few leaders who come along to spread a message of love and peace (and really mean it) are easily “dealt with” by the overt authoritarian, hierarchical structure which bureaucracies require for the sake of efficiency—it is an old paradox since the birth of the agrarian, patriarchal society.

      2] Given this paradoxical reality, is it possible that our species is designed to follow the natural order of all things? Namely, birth, growth, and death? The so-called “circle of life”? Those of us that fight against injustice and exploitation—“power” by another name—are merely here to prolong the inevitable.

      These are not pleasant thoughts, which is why I actually do hold out hope that we can collectively wake up to this self-destructive madness, grow up, put down our technological toys of destruction, and realize the virtues of what it means to be human before it is too late. (You know the ones: curiosity, common sense, creativity, memory, intuition, compassion, and cooperation.)

    • rgl
      June 18, 2020 at 16:31

      Yes. It seems you are. If Trump, Biden, the Bu$hs, and the Clintons represent the best America can offer up to high office, then yes. as a whole, you are “THAT” stupid and blind.

    • TS
      June 18, 2020 at 17:55

      > Are we THAT stupid and blind ?

      Not at all. It has been unadmitted S.O.P. for most of the last several decades that the unacknowledged function of the Vice-President is to be the President’s life-insurance policy. So even if you hate the President’s policies, and believe they are disastrous, don’t even think about getting rid of him, because his replacement would be worse. (Which is another reason I always suspected the impeachment show to be b.s.)

    • robert e williamson jr
      June 21, 2020 at 15:10

      Follow the money John. You ask the wrong question. No John the problem is that you are really un-wealthy to the point your voice doesn’t matter. See the results of the Citizens United case in the SCOTUS. Those results gave management of politics on all levels to those with the most $,$$$,$$$,$$$.00, control has been handed to the super wealthy elitist, the SWEATS.

      What was very wrong with politics before is now unconscionable.

      How do the very worst among us get these jobs, billionaires behaving badly. It’s what too many are willing to do, e.g. about anything you can imagine to get on top.

      John you are being too rough on yourself blame the democrats and the republicans who continually present the voter with the less of two evils. This is killing the country, as both parties slide continually to the right! No balance in machinery of government and it’s shaking itself apart.

  10. KiwiAntz
    June 17, 2020 at 21:01

    Virus, what Virus? Denial & Delusion is the American way? Nothing to see here? See no Evil, hear no Evil, speak no Evil by Trumps main bootlicker, Mike Pence? So what’s the PROBLEM HERE?? Pence is only reinforcing this Banana Republic’s, bogus & immoral mentality of FAKE IT, TO YOU MAKE IT, that’s as American as apple pie? The Bunker Boy Coward, Donald Trump & his criminally negligent Administration believe that if you stop reporting or even mentioning, anything about the Pandemic & the horrific US infection & death rate, that it will magically disappear from the citizens consciousness? But you can’t BS the Virus, it can’t be tweeted away, it can’t be regime changed, sanctioned or propagandised away by Trumps magic wand of lies & misdirection? The Lincoln Project’s Ads & especially the body bags Ad that make up the American Flag, is a damning indictment of America’s shambolic Pandemic response under Trump & his hopeless & utterly useless Pandemic Czar, Mike Pence! So continue burying your heads in the sand, whilst the Infection rate & Death rate skyrockets, you truly are the EXCEPTIONAL Nation over all others!

Comments are closed.