October 26, 2020
Mike Pence Defends Administration's Response To COVID-19, Claims Donald Trump 'Saved Countless American Lives'

In a Sunday interview with Fox News, Vice President Mike Pence defended President Donald Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking with anchor Mark Levin, Pence argued that Trump took action early on, praising the decision to restrict travel to and from China, where the virus is thought to have originated.

"That decision alone saved countless American lives because it bought us invaluable time to stand up the greatest national mobilization since World War II."
Pence slammed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, saying that Biden criticized the initiative as "xenophobic."

Travel restrictions, Pence argued, "bought us time" to establish testing systems and rapidly produce and distribute the necessary medical equipment.

Pence then pivoted to bashing the Obama administration, accusing his predecessors of mishandling the federal government's response to the 2009 H1N1 swine flu.

He pointed out that the swine flu "infected 60 million Americans, and if it had had the same fatality rate as the coronavirus does, we would have lost more than two million American lives."

But it did not have the same fatality rate as COVID-19. Per The New York Times, as of Sunday morning, 224,819 people have died in the U.S. from the novel disease. In total, the nation has reported nearly 9 million cases. In recent days, the numbers have increased at an alarming rate, shattering all records.

Still, according to Pence, Trump's policies have "literally saved hundreds of thousands" of lives.

Concluding the interview, the vice president pointed to the administration's Operation Warp Speed, saying that he and Trump are "confident" a safe and effective vaccine will be widely available by the end of 2020.

Pence said that "we're going to have the first coronavirus vaccine before the end of this year, and we're already going to have tens of millions of doses to be able to distribute."

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence walk to deliver an update on the nations coronavirus testing strategy in the Rose Garden of the White House.
Getty Images | Tasos Katopodis

Critics have accused Trump and other Republicans of bungling the national response to COVID-19.

Notably, during a campaign event on Saturday, Obama said that he left Trump a "playbook" on how to deal with pandemics, but the current president "doesn't even acknowledge that there's a problem."

Biden, meanwhile, has vowed to tackle the crisis if elected on November 3, promising to work with local and state leaders and vowing to deliver a massive economic stimulus package, per Politico.

Trump has repeatedly downplayed the severity of the situation. At a rally in North Carolina earlier this week, he attacked the media for reporting on the virus and blamed the latest surge in cases on widespread testing.