Pence Blames The Media When Pressed On Trump’s Baseless COVID-19 Testing Claims

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: Vice President Pence speaks after leading a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the Department of Health and Human Services on June 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. Cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are rising in southern and western states forcing businesses to remain closed. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: 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 in Washington, DC. Cases of coron... WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: 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 in Washington, DC. Cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are rising in southern and western states forcing businesses to remain closed. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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June 28, 2020 12:39 p.m.
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Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday continued backing President Trump’s misleading claims on COVID-19 testing by blaming the media.

On Friday, Pence insisted during the first briefing in nearly two months from the White House Coronavirus Task Force that despite the country setting a new daily record for new COVID-19 cases, “this moment is different.” The VP also argued that states such as Florida, Texas and Arizona emerging as coronavirus hot spots can be attributed to more people under 35 years old testing positive.

“In many cases, they have no symptoms but they are coming forward and confirming they have contracted the coronavirus,” Pence said on Friday.

Pence sang a similar tune during an interview on CBS that aired on Sunday morning.

When pressed on Trump’s misleading claim that there would be no coronavirus cases if testing wasn’t being done, Pence doubled down by blaming the media’s reporting of it.

“The President was observing the fact that rising cases, which is — which the media has focused exclusively on has been in part a result of increased testing,” Pence said. “What the media doesn’t focus on at all is because of the sacrifices the American people made in those 45 days to slow the spread and the good commonsense measures they continue to do.”

Pence then insisted that “we’ve continued to see fatalities decline,” echoing his remarks on Friday.

“I grieve for every American family that lost a loved one, for the more than 125,000 Americans that we’ve lost in this,” Pence said. “We’re going to continue to take steps to protect the most vulnerable and testing will be a critical part of that going forward.”

CBS’ John Dickerson pointed out how testing is critical to protect and to open the economy, before pressing Pence again on why the President continues to undermine confidence in testing.

“I just disagree that the President’s undermining confidence in testing,” Pence said. “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.”

Last week, Pence defended Trump’s claim during his Tulsa campaign rally that he asked his administration to “slow the testing down, please” on the coronavirus was a “passing observation.”

Watch Pence’s remarks below:

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
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