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Pence: 'We want to defer to local officials' on requiring masks


Vice President Pence defended the lack of encouragement from President TrumpDonald John TrumpFour men charged for trying to tear down Andrew Jackson statue in DC Video shows workers removed social distancing signs before Trump Tulsa rally: WaPo Biden slams Trump for not sanctioning Russia over Afghan militant ‘bounties’ intelligence MORE for all Americans to wear masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus, saying the White House wants “to defer to governors.”

“One of the elements of the genius of America is the principle of federalism, of state and local control,” Pence said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “We’ve made it clear that we want to defer to governors. We want to defer to local officials, and people should listen to them.”

Guest host John Dickerson countered that “the virus doesn’t know federalism” and called the pandemic “a problem that requires a coordinated national result, which is what these outbreaks are showing.”

“If we’d have taken that approach, we’d have never had the success that we had in the greater New York City area,” Pence responded. “We’d have never had the success in Michigan or New Orleans because, from early on, we worked closely in partnership with governors to make sure that they had what they needed when they needed it, tailored to the unique circumstances in their states.”

Dickerson also questioned Pence about Trump’s frequent false claims that further cases are surfacing only because of increased testing.

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

“I think it’s inarguable that the historic increase in testing that we’ve accomplished in this country has played a role in the new cases, particularly among younger Americans,” Pence responded.

Although testing has increased in recent weeks, the percentage of tests coming back positive is also increasing.

Pence also pushed back against the notion that spikes in individual states are the result of premature reopening.

“States like Florida and like Texas actually began to open up in early May. For the better part of six weeks, John, we did not see any significant movement,” he said.



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