Last week, Donald Trump Jr., speaking in an interview that aired on Fox News, made an outlandish claim regarding Democratic lawmakers’ complaints of President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus global pandemic so far.
“For them to try to take a pandemic and seemingly hope that it comes here and kills millions of people so that they could end Donald Trump’s streak of winning is a new level of sickness,” Trump Jr. said.
On Sunday morning, in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union, Pence was asked to address those remarks from the president’s eldest son.
“Can we agree that neither Democrats nor Republicans want Americans to get coronavirus and die from it?” Tapper asked. “I mean, that does seem like very extreme rhetoric.”
Pence responded by suggesting Trump’s charge to him in selecting him to lead the coronavirus task force was twofold: to assure the American people that the administration is ready for the outbreak, and to say that “this is no time for politics.”
“And frankly, I think that was Don Jr.’s point, that there has been some very strong rhetoric directed at the president,” Pence said.
On CNN, Mike Pence not only refused to disagree with Donald Trump Jr's assertion that Democrats are rooting for coronavirus to kill millions of people to hurt Trump — but Pence even characterized Don Jr's sentiment as "understandable" pic.twitter.com/KwD624XGkq
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 1, 2020
Tapper pressed the vice president on, asking him to elaborate whether Trump Jr.’s comment itself wasn’t some harsh rhetoric of its own.
“Responding to the kind of things that have been hurled [toward the president] is understandable,” Pence explained, “but what the president has charged us to do…is to set the politics aside on this and to work the problem.”
No Democrat has suggested that they hope a coronavirus outbreak takes hold in the U.S., nor that millions die from it.
Indeed, much of the criticism of the president’s words so far, regarding the virus, have been over his false and misleading statements about the seriousness of the situation.
Trump, for example, claimed early in February that coronavirus wouldn’t be a problem by springtime. “A lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat. Typically that will go away in April,” Trump said, prompting the director of the CDC to contradict that statement shortly after.
Trump has also said, on a number of occasions, that the number of cases in the U.S. is going down, even as the numbers went up.
Despite these statements, which clearly warrant criticism of some kind or another, Trump has called Democrats and media pointing out these discrepancies a “hoax.”
“This is their new hoax,” Trump said in a campaign rally this past week.
Featured image credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr
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Chris Walker is a freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. A millennial with more than a decade of journalism experience, Chris aims to provide readers with the latest and most accurate news of national importance. Chris likes to spend his free time doing activities in his community with his family.