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John Dickerson Confronts Mike Pence on US Covid Response

CBS News’ John Dickerson spoke with Vice President Mike Pence on Face the Nation and confronted him over the U.S. response to the coronavirus outbreak.

After going back and forth about the spikes in a number of states, Dickerson said, “The experts are saying these states walked into a problem with their eyes wide open because they opened too early. And that’s a mistake, which seems to repeat the original mistake, which was to downplay and not take seriously the nature of the threat.”

Pence took issue with the characterization and defended the steps the Trump administration has taken thus far.

“Why not ask people to wear masks?” Dickerson asked, singling out the president specifically.

“Well, we believe people should wear masks wherever social distancing is not possible, wherever it’s indicated by either state or local authorities. And, you know, the president has worn a mask. I wore a mask on several occasions this week,” Pence responded.

Dickerson said the mask messaging rom the administration has been “muddled” and again asked why POTUS won’t “come forward and say everybody should wear a mask, which is what all the governors are saying.”

“We believe that every state has a unique situation,” Pence responded. “And I want to be clear, while we’re monitoring about 16 states that are seeing outbreaks, it represents about 4 percent of all the counties in this country, 34 states are not seeing a rise in positivity and they have different measures, different requirements and different guidance in place. I mean one of the elements of the genius of America is the principle of federalism, of state and local control. We’ve made it clear that we want to defer to governors. We want to defer to local officials.”

Dickerson also asked about the president’s comments that “if we didn’t do testing, we’d have no cases,” calling that “wrong and misleading.”

“Given how important testing is, why is the president saying things that are wrong and misleading about testing?” Dickerson asked.

Pence talked up U.S. progress in testing before Dickerson again jumped in to ask, “The president of the United States, with the biggest megaphone on the planet, is saying something about testing that is wrong and misleading. Is that the standard we want for the President of the United States?”

Pence defended POTUS by saying he was just “observing the fact that rising cases, which the media has focused exclusively on, has been in part a result of increased testing.”

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

You can watch above, via CBS.

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