Florida Members of Congress, FDP Chair, Sarasota State Rep. Slam Pence for Fundraising During Coronavirus Response

5 mins read

FLORIDA – Days after being named leader of the U.S. task force against the coronavirus, Pence will take time off to address the conservative Club for Growth conference and fundraise in Florida. This is not the first time Pence has been reckless with a possible pandemic, Indiana experienced its worst HIV outbreak in history on his watch. Pence’s fundraising mission comes on the heels of a whistleblower complaint regarding poor training and protection for Department of Health and Human Services workers aiding coronavirus evacuees. 

In response, FDP Chair Terrie Rizzo, US Rep. Donna Shalala, US Rep. Lois Frankel, and Sarasota State Rep. Margaret Good released statements condemning the Vice President for not taking this role more seriously.  

FDP Chair Terrie Rizzo: 

“The Trump administration’s backwards priorities are on full display — Pence is coming to fundraise in Florida two days after being appointed to lead our national response on the coronavirus. Trump’s carelessness with our health and safety is deeply alarming.” 

US Rep Lois Frankel, FL-21:

“After being put in charge of the administration’s coronavirus response, Pence should be focused on addressing this global health emergency — not fleeing DC to fundraise. His pitch will be the same nonsense we’ve heard before. Floridians know the real impact of Trump’s tax scam is massive handouts for corporations and the ultra wealthy at the expense of hardworking American families.”

US Rep Donna Shalala, FL-27: 

“Rather than focusing his attention on leading the country’s response to the growing coronavirus concern, Vice President Pence is instead spending his time flying to and from fundraisers. The people of America deserve an effective and coordinated response.”  

State Rep. Margaret Good, HD-72; candidate for Florida’s 16th Congressional District:

“Vice President Pence is turning his back on the health and safety of the American people just like Vern Buchanan did when he voted again and again to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. He is coming to Sarasota because National Republicans know that Vern is in trouble — and they’re terrified of losing this seat and in their attempt to save Vern, they’re risking the health and safety of the American people.” 

MORE: Pence’s Resume Dealing with Pandemics Includes Contributing to the Worst HIV Outbreak in Indiana History

Trump said he put Pence in charge because he wanted to base the coronavirus response on the “great success” of Pence’s “Indiana model.” Trump: “Anybody that knows anything about health care, they look at the Indiana model and it’s been a very great success. It’s been a tremendous model in terms of health care. And this is really an offshoot of that.” 

As Indiana governor, Pence’s policies and inaction enabled the state’s largest HIV outbreak in history.HuffPost: “It’s a shame, since lackluster public health efforts are what led to the defining moment of Pence’s one-term Indiana governorship: a massive HIV outbreak spurred by public health funding cuts and Pence’s moralistic stance against needle exchanges.  A timeline of the HIV outbreak, the worst in state history, reads like a roadmap of what to do if you want to create a public health crisis.” 

Pence’s initial opposition to needle exchange exacerbated Indiana’s HIV crisis, which was otherwise “entirely preventable.”The Director of Public Policy at the Foundation for AIDS Research: “Millett called Indiana’s HIV outbreak ‘entirely preventable.’ ‘Indiana taxpayers could have been saved millions of dollars for treating those affected by the HIV outbreak if effective prevention policies were already in place,’ he said.” 

Pence championed health spending cuts that led to Scott County’s only HIV testing center being closed not long before the outbreak began there.
HuffPost: “Pence first laid the groundwork for Indiana’s HIV outbreak as a congressman back in 2011, when the House passed his amendment to defund Planned Parenthood. Then in 2013, Pence’s first year as governor of Indiana, Scott County’s one Planned Parenthood closed in the wake of public health spending cuts. Since that particular Planned Parenthood was also the county’s only HIV testing center, there was no longer a place for the county’s 24,000 residents to get tested.”

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