Vice President Mike Pence celebrated ‘remarkable progress’ against the coronavirus, even as he acknowledged a surge in cases and the startling number of deaths due to the pandemic at the coronavirus first task force briefing in months Friday.
‘We slowed the spread. We flattened the curve. We saved lives,’ Pence told reporters at a task force briefing Friday – this time held for the first time at the Department of Health and Human Services.
He offered ‘sympathies and our deepest condolences’ to families and victims – and kicked off the briefing by citing the grim statistics, with 125,000 dead and more than 2.5 million Americans infected.
VP Mike Pence: "We've all seen the encouraging news as we open up America again." pic.twitter.com/f12eHPUeQr
— The Hill (@thehill) June 26, 2020
As he did at White House briefings in the past, Pence praised President Trump’s actions, including blocking many travelers from China, even as public opinion polls show significant public dissatisfaction with the administration’s handling of the pandemic.
He said it was time to ‘take a step back and think about how far we’ve come as a country’ and said he wanted to talk about ‘what we’re seeing and what we’re doing and how it’s different from two months ago.’
He extended sympathies to the families that have lost love ones, bringing up the statistics more than once, rather than skirting over the results.
He noted there was a day this week when the nation lost 2,500 Americans in a single day.
‘I’ll be traveling to Florida on Thursday of next week to get a ground report,’ he said, although the Trump campaign also has announced a campaign event that day.
‘The truth is we did slow the spread. We flattened the curve,’ he said.
‘We’re in a much better place with the efforts President Trump mobilized at the federal level,’ said Pence.
Pence urged the nation to pray for those who have lost loved ones.
With President Trump continuing to attack critics and blast the ‘fake news’ for discounting his efforts, Pence adopted soothing tones, telling the nation: ‘We’re all in this together.’
‘Just continue to pray that by God’s grace every single day will each of us do our part to heal our land,’ Pence urged.
He said 34 states are experiencing ‘a measure of stability.’ But he acknowledged 16 states had ‘rising cases and rising percentages.’ Those states include Florida, which saw a jump of nearly 9,000 cases in a day. That is where Pence is heading Thursday for his ‘Faith in America’ indoor event.