AOC On Pence Leading Coronavirus Task Force: ‘This Decision Could Cost People Their Lives’
On Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump named Vice President Mike Pence to head a coronavirus task force he was forming.
Trump stated that Pence would “report back to me,” adding, “He has a certain talent for this.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, appeared stunned by the decision. “Mike Pence literally does not believe in science,” she wrote in a tweet hours after the announcement.
“It is utterly irresponsible to put him in charge of US coronavirus response as the world sits on the cusp of a pandemic,” she added.
The congresswoman had a dire warning over the vice president’s appointment. “This decision could cost people their lives. Pence’s past decisions already have,” she wrote.
Mike Pence literally does not believe in science.
It is utterly irresponsible to put him in charge of US coronavirus response as the world sits on the cusp of a pandemic.
This decision could cost people their lives. Pence’s past decisions already have. https://t.co/NhMPOusOWm
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 27, 2020
Ocasio-Cortez was likely alluding to a situation back when Pence was governor of Indiana, when hundreds of residents in his state contracted HIV. Pence tried to “pray” over the matter before he finally relented and took action by acquiescing to a needle-exchange program many had called for, although his version was limited in scope.
Pence also took heat at the time for creating conditions that possibly caused the virus to spread more than it had to from the start, including cutting aid to programs and clinics that offered free testing to individuals who suspected they might have the illness.
Overall, according to one Yale study, 127 HIV infections of the 215 studied could have been avoided.
Pence has expressed many other controversial and un-scientific beliefs. In 2000, he wrote in an op-ed decrying the warnings against cigarette smoking, errantly stating that the habit didn’t kill people. He also wrote, in a separate opinion piece, that carbon dioxide couldn’t possibly be a greenhouse gas that contributes to global climate change because it was a naturally occurring substance, too.