In Debate, Pence and Harris Supply Conflicting Views of Nation’s Actuality

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The Trump administration’s pandemic response: decisive motion that saved lives, or the best failure of any presidential administration? Throughout Wednesday’s vice presidential debate, Vice President Mike Pence and the Democratic challenger, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, provided drastically totally different takes — from behind  plexiglass screens — on how the president has dealt with the COVID-19 disaster.

Pence touted problematic claims, comparable to that President Donald Trump’s ban on journey from China helped the nation reply to the coronavirus (PolitiFact rated an analogous declare “False”) and that the nation would have a vaccine in lower than a 12 months (the director of the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention stated a vaccine, but to be permitted, is not going to be extensively obtainable till subsequent 12 months).

Harris stated the Trump administration misled the general public about how severe the virus is, pointing to briefings Trump and Pence acquired in January. Trump informed journalist Bob Woodward in a recorded interview that he purposely downplayed it.

Our companions at PolitiFact broke down a complete gamut of claims — on fracking, the financial restoration and the Supreme Court docket. The highlights relating to well being care and coronavirus insurance policies observe:

Kamala Harris: “The president stated [the coronavirus] was a hoax.”Ranking: False

This often-repeated assertion falsely attributed to Trump has its roots in a Feb. 28 rally in North Carolina. However it’s a mischaracterization of what he really stated, which was an assault on Democrats’ response to the virus.

Trump solid the Democrats’ criticism of his work as foisting a hoax on the general public. “They tried the impeachment hoax,” he stated. “That was not an ideal dialog. They tried something. They tried it again and again. They’d been doing it since you bought in. It’s all turning. They misplaced. It’s all turning. Consider it. Consider it. And that is their new hoax.”

Mike Pence: The Rose Backyard occasion with Choose Amy Coney Barrett “was an outside occasion, which all of our scientists repeatedly and routinely suggested.”Incorrect

The occasion included an indoor part, throughout which Trump, Barrett and others posed for photographs with out masks. Public well being officers do say out of doors actions are much less dangerous — supplied masks are worn — than indoor occasions, the place it is likely to be more durable to maintain folks aside and there’s much less air flow. However attendees of the Sept. 26 White Home occasion for the nomination of Barrett to the Supreme Court docket didn’t apply social distancing, and lots of didn’t put on masks all through the occasion.

Pence: Trump “suspended all journey from China. … Joe Biden opposed that call. He referred to as it xenophobic and hysterical.”Deceptive

There have been exemptions in Trump’s journey restrictions on China. On Jan. 21, the CDC confirmed the primary U.S. case of the brand new coronavirus: a affected person in Washington state who had traveled from Wuhan, China. On Jan. 31, the Trump administration introduced a ban on vacationers from China, but it surely exempted a number of classes of individuals, together with U.S. residents and lawful everlasting residents. It took impact Feb. 2.

In keeping with The New York Occasions, about 40,000 folks traveled from China to america within the two months after Trump introduced journey restrictions, and 60% of individuals on direct flights from China weren’t U.S. residents.

As for the “xenophobic and hysterical” remark, Biden has circuitously stated the journey restrictions had been xenophobic. Across the time the Trump administration introduced the restrictions, Biden stated Trump had a “report of hysteria, xenophobia and fearmongering.” Biden additionally used the phrase “xenophobic” in reply to a Trump tweet about limiting entry to vacationers from China wherein the president described the coronavirus because the “Chinese language virus.”

Harris: Obama “created inside the White Home an workplace that mainly was liable for monitoring pandemics. They removed it. There was a workforce of illness consultants that President Obama and Vice President Biden dispatched to China to watch what’s now predictable and what may occur. They pulled them out.” Largely correct

Harris described two items of Washington’s operation to guard towards new viral threats. There was a division inside the White Home Nationwide Safety Council. And there was a CDC workplace in China.

In Might 2018, the highest White Home official in control of the U.S. response to pandemics left the administration. Then-national safety adviser John Bolton reorganized the White Home world well being workforce. Homeland safety adviser Tom Bossert, who beneficial robust defenses towards illness and organic warfare, had left in April 2018. Neither Bossert nor the official overseeing the U.S. pandemic response was changed. Nor had been their groups, a few of whose tasks had been farmed out to different corners of the administration.

In China, the CDC program particularly charged with recognizing new infectious ailments went from 4 American employees members in 2017 to none by 2019.

Pence: Biden’s “personal chief of employees, Ron Klain, would say final 12 months that it was pure luck, that they did all the pieces doable incorrect [with H1N1]. And we realized from that.”Wants context

Klain, Biden’s former chief of employees, spoke about H1N1 throughout a biosecurity convention in Might 2019: “A bunch of actually proficient, actually nice folks engaged on it, and we did each doable factor incorrect. And it’s, you recognize, 60 million People obtained H1N1 in that time period. And it’s simply purely a fortuity that this isn’t one of many nice mass casualty occasions in American historical past. It had nothing to do with us doing something proper. It simply needed to do with luck.”

Klain has since informed Politico and that his feedback had been taken out of context, and that they had been particularly in reference to the Obama administration’s difficulties assembly the general public demand for an H1N1 vaccine. He was not speaking about Biden instantly.

Pence: The Obama administration “left the strategic nationwide stockpile empty.”Ranking: Principally False

The Obama administration didn’t depart an “empty” nationwide stockpile. Simply months earlier than COVID instances popped up within the U.S., the previous director of the stockpile described it as an $eight billion enterprise with intensive holdings of many wanted objects. However N95 masks, for instance, had been depleted after the H1N1 outbreak in 2009.

Pence: On the nation’s COVID response, “the fact is, if you take a look at the Biden plan, it reads an terrible lot like what President Trump and I and our process pressure have been doing each step of the way in which.”Deceptive

At first look, the Biden plan does monitor intently with a few of the speaking factors superior by the Trump administration: the necessity to develop and distribute a vaccine, present COVID checks free, cut back prices for COVID therapies, and produce obligatory protecting gear and ventilators. However Biden’s plan proposes many different priorities that the Trump administration has not pursued. Biden additionally has, all through the marketing campaign, adopted suggestions about mask-wearing and social distancing that the administration has defied — a sample that’s being blamed for Trump’s personal an infection with COVID-19 and the outbreak on the White Home.

Pence: The Obama administration “left an empty and hole plan.”Deceptive

The Obama administration left a “playbook” that detailed steps to absorb the occasion of an infectious illness outbreak. The 69-page doc from 2016 was a Nationwide Safety Council guidebook created to help leaders “in coordinating a fancy U.S. authorities response to a high-consequence rising illness risk anyplace on this planet.”

Harris: “At the moment they nonetheless don’t have a plan” to take care of the pandemic.Wants context

Biden stated the identical factor in the course of the first presidential debate. The Trump administration does have a plan to distribute vaccines as soon as they’re produced. However consultants say the administration has failed to provide a nationwide testing plan or a nationwide technique to handle the COVID pandemic. The administration maintains its emphasis has been on serving to the economic system reopen. Nonetheless, it has fallen quick in executing a coordinated response between the federal authorities and states to fight the coronavirus. Greater than 210,000 People have died of COVID-19, extra deaths than in another nation.

Pence (to Harris): “The truth that you proceed to undermine public confidence in a vaccine, if a vaccine emerges in the course of the Trump administration, I feel is unconscionable.”Wants context

Harris stated in the course of the debate that she wouldn’t take Trump’s phrase {that a} vaccine is efficient, insisting she would as an alternative belief the opinion of an skilled, comparable to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Illnesses: “I would be the first in line to take it, completely.” Harris just lately advised Trump would push a vaccine earlier than it was prepared to assist his electoral probabilities. However Harris is voicing issues shared by many People. Final month, a Pew ballot discovered People are divided on whether or not to get a COVID vaccine, with 78% saying they’re frightened it will likely be permitted too rapidly.

Harris: “The president hasn’t been clear when it comes to well being data.” Correct

After Trump introduced his COVID prognosis and was admitted to Walter Reed Nationwide Army Medical Middle for therapy, his doctor, Dr. Sean Conley, briefed reporters on the president’s well being. Conley supplied selective data and declined to reply questions, comparable to when the president first examined optimistic for the illness or the situation of his lungs. Conley stated he couldn’t share this data, citing HIPAA — the Well being Insurance coverage Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. Specialists informed us HIPAA does prohibit Conley from sharing any well being data the president hasn’t licensed him to share. Nonetheless, if Trump wished his physician to be clear, he may waive HIPAA protections. Past the latest questions on his COVID an infection, Trump has shared much less basic well being data than previous presidents. However no regulation requires presidents to reveal details about their well being.

Pence: Biden and Harris help abortion “all the way in which up-to-the-minute of start.”Deceptive

Biden and Harris haven’t stated they help abortion up-to-the-minute of start. They are saying they help Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court docket case that legalized abortion whereas giving states the power to control it after a sure level. Biden and Harris say they need to codify Roe v. Wade into regulation and are towards state legal guidelines that they are saying violate the rulings within the case. Supporting Roe shouldn’t be the identical as supporting abortion up-to-the-minute of start, consultants say.

“As a result of Roe permits states to ban abortion as soon as a fetus is viable, settlement with the case doesn’t point out help for abortions ‘up-to-the-minute of start,’” stated Darren Hutchinson, a professor on the College of Florida’s Levin School of Regulation.

KHN reporters Emmarie Huetteman and Victoria Knight and PolitiFact employees writers Daniel Funke, Jon Greenberg, Louis Jacobson, Noah Y. Kim, Invoice McCarthy, Samantha Putterman, Amy Sherman and Miriam Valverde contributed to this report.

Kaiser Well being Information (KHN) is a nationwide well being coverage information service. It’s an editorially impartial program of the Henry J. Kaiser Household Basis which isn’t affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


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