During his “Reality Check” segment on CNN’s “New Day,” contributor John Avlon cast a jaundiced eye the appointment of Vice President Mike Pence by Donald Trump to be the administration’s point man combating the coronavirus pandemic — pointing out the veep’s history when it comes to health matters is highly suspect.
With the president reportedly admitting that he selected Pence to head the task force because he “doesn’t have anything else to do,” Avlon began with the age-old advice: “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”
“Preparing for a pandemic requires coordination, elevating science over superstition and a lot depends on the credibility of the person communicating,” Avlon began. “Which is why some eyebrows raised when President Trump tapped Mike Pence to lead the response to the coronavirus.”
“Mike Pence’s big problem is he doesn’t have a stellar record when it comes to public health crises — at times he’s barely been on speaking terms with science,” the CNN contributor added. “For example, his reaction to an HIV outbreak in Indiana was described as a textbook case for how not to do it by an epidemiologist from Yale.”
After detailing Pence’s bumbling response on that topic, Avlon got to the heart of the matter.
“The wrestling match between science and partisan talking points doesn’t bode well for Pence’s new responsibility,” he explained. “This is a time to trust science and doctors and that means dropping the muzzle imposed on those like Dr. Anthony Fauci of the NIH. Pence is supposed to be Trump’s PR man ensuring they don’t contradict the president’s fact-free assertions. But Pence should venture on beyond the safe spaces of Sean Hannity’s show and fox news.”
“I know, what a concept,” Avlon added sarcastically before pointedly adding, “This administration has a self-inflicted credibility gap when it comes to basic science, but dealing with coronavirus will depend on doing much more than just playing to the base.”
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