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CBS' Paula Reid Presses Mike Pence Coronavirus Response


CBS White House correspondent Paula Reid pressed Vice President Mike Pence during a coronavirus task force briefing on Friday and noted that the Trump administration often contradicts themselves when it comes to the pandemic, adding “you’re saying do as we say, not as we do.”

Although Pence did not mention the word mask during the briefing on Friday and pointed to the upcoming election when asked why President Donald Trump is holding rallies amid the pandemic, the vice president has continued to encourage Americans to listen to CDC guidelines.

“On the campaign, it really does sound though like you’re saying do as we say, not as we do,” said Reid. “You’re telling people to listen to local officials, but in Tulsa, you defied local health officials to have an event that even though you say didn’t result in a spike, dozens of secret service agents, dozens of campaign staffers are now quarantined after positive tests.”

Reid pointed to Trump’s campaign in Arizona, one of the states with the highest current coronavirus rates, and questioned how Pence could claim these actions are not contributing to the spikes in cases across the U.S.

“Well, I want to remind you again that the freedom of speech and the right to peacefully assemble is enshrined in the constitution of the United States,” Pence replied in between long pauses. “Even in a health crisis, the American people don’t forfeit our constitutional rights.”

Pence noted that people could choose to attend the rallies and again referenced personal freedom and responsibility, adding that is is important for people to participate in the political process. The vice president then noted that it was important for young Americans to understand the challenges faced in their age group.

“But look, it’s so important that, that we recognize, as we issued guidance to reopen America, now two months ago, and as all 50 states are opening up the country, people are going back to work,” he added. “American, every-day life is being restored, one step, one day at a time. I think it’s important that we remind ourselves this is not a choice between the health of the American people and a strong economy. There are profound health implications to the lockdowns, through which we just passed.”

The vice president then referenced the spike in attempted suicides and mental health issues as a way of justifying reopening efforts throughout the country, as well as allowing gatherings amid the pandemic.

“People needing to be back to work. And so, our objective here today is to make sure the American people know in 34 states the cases are largely stable and there’s no combination of rising cases and rising positivity rates,” he said. “That’s a tribute to the American people. And in the 16 states we’re focussed on today, we simply want to equip, particularly young people, with the knowledge that the part they can play in stemming the rising tide of new cases.”

Watch above, via CNN.

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