Questions for Mike Pence Ahead of Tampa Gaggle with Ron DeSantis

9 mins read

1. On Sunday, you said that “…we are literally able to test anyone in the country that would want a test who comes forward.” This is in direct contradiction to what we saw in Florida this week, where test sites closed early because they reached capacity. Why are you misleading the public about our testing capacity? Why hasn’t the Trump administration developed and executed a national testing strategy, more than six months into this crisis? 
2. Yesterday, Donald Trump said, referring to the coronavirus, “I think that, at some point, that’s going to sort of just disappear.” Today, Florida posted a record 10,000 new coronavirus cases and Dr. Fauci has previously shared his concern that cases will continue to rise. Do you agree with the president that the coronavirus will “just disappear,” despite zero evidence of that being the case?  Why didn’t you hold a public coronavirus task force meeting for nearly two months?
3. When you visited Florida at the end of May, you did not wear a mask during a photo-op with Ron DeSantis, sending a message to Floridians to go about their business without safety measures recommended by the CDC. Yesterday, you wore a mask in Arizona. Months after the CDC first recommended face coverings as a critical tool for preventing the spread of the coronavirus, why are you just now wearing a mask? Do you regret not wearing a mask in public sooner? 
4. The majority of Jacksonville voters do not want the Republican National Committee’s convention to come to their town, citing concerns that the event could spread coronavirus. Why is the Trump administration willing to ignore the majority of Jacksonville voters, as well as the nearly 200 doctors who recently called hosting the RNC ‘medically disrespectful to citizens’?
5. The Trump administration is backing a lawsuit in front of the Supreme Court to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Do you stand by Trump’s decision to rip away health care from millions of Americans during a pandemic? 

Ahead of Pence Visit, Cardiologist, Florida Democrats Slammed the Trump Admin for Politics-First Response to the Pandemic, Surge in COVID-19 Cases

Ahead of Mike Pence’s visit to the Sunshine State today, Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo, Congresswoman Donna Shalala (FL-27), State Senator José Javier Rodríguez (SD-37), and Miami-based cardiologist Dr. Bernard Ashby held a virtual press conference to discuss how the Trump administration’s anti-science, politics-first approach continues to worsen the coronavirus crisis in Florida. 
Mike Pence is visiting Florida as the state announced 10,000 new COVID-19 cases, a new record for the highest single-day increase in cases. Yesterday, the United States confirmed more than 50,000 COVID-19 cases in one day, another record. 
Terrie Rizzo, Florida Democratic Party Chair
“The Trump campaign spent most of May and nearly all of June going on what amounted to a victory tour, falsely claiming they succeeded in containing the outbreak and rushing states like Florida to reopen before they were ready. Last time Mike Pence was in Florida, the U.S had just passed the bleak milestone of 100,000 American deaths due to COVID-19.
“… the Trump team’s victory lap is over, but we still have a marathon to run. Not only was this victory tour fundamentally disconnected from the reality of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, it also led us to the situation we’re currently in — they signaled that it was OK to flout CDC guidelines and get back to business as usual, without the necessary safety measures in place. COVID-19 cases are hitting record highs, hospital capacity is waning, and Donald Trump is once again asleep at the wheel, making excuses and claiming as recently as yesterday that the coronavirus will somehow ‘just disappear.’”
Congresswoman Donna Shalala, FL-27
“It is immoral for Trump, Pence, this administration –with the support of our governor– to go to court to try to take health care away from literally millions of people in this country and hundreds of thousands of people in Miami-Dade county.” 
[…] “Donald Trump and Mike Pence are cheerleaders, and there’s nothing to cheer about when our friends and neighbors are getting infected and dying. We need to go back to the fundamentals of public health and starve this virus so that we can do serious contact tracing. We need to tell the people in Florida the truth and that is we’re nowhere near where we need to be.” 
State Senator José Javier Rodríguez, SD-37
“And unfortunately the huge sacrifice that all parts of our community made…all of those sacrifices were made so that our leaders could put in place practices that will allow us to eventually reopen safely…That time was squandered.”
[…] “In late May, the photo op that we all remember was DeSantis and Pence having a burger. No mask, no social distancing. Basically in late May pretending like there was no pandemic and there was nothing to be worried about or take seriously, but we hope the message that they directly and indirectly send to the public this time around will be very different…We should have public health in the driver’s seat and not public relations.” 
Dr. Bernard Ashby, Florida cardiologist and public health expert
“And honestly this was no surprise, [because] of the fact that there was no comprehensive, evidence based, strategic, proactive plan to deal with the pandemic at the federal and state level. This was predictable.” 
[…] “I’m very concerned about the current trends and I’m most concerned about the anemic response we’ve had thus far. This reactionary, piecemeal approach is not the way to do it. It has to be a long term, strategic, comprehensive plan…What’s going on is inadequate at best.”
You can watch a recording of the virtual press conference here

FDP statement on June Bureau of Labor Statistics report

Today, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that more than 17 million Americans are still out of work and the unemployment rate remains above 11 percent. On June 19, the BLS reported that Florida’s unemployment rate rose to 14.5 percent in May.In response, Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo released the following statement: 
“Donald Trump’s leadership failure is devastating our economy and costing Floridians their jobs, their savings, and their lives. In addition to record numbers of new coronavirus cases, hundreds of thousands of Floridians are still jobless and many are without the health care coverage they desperately need. And instead of listening to public health experts, Trump is moving on and pretending like the problem doesn’t even exist. Fortunately, Floridians have the opportunity to elect Joe Biden, an experienced leader who will prioritize public health so that Floridians can safely get back to work and get our economy back on track.” 
Promise: “Those jobs will all be back, and they’ll be back very soon.” [Trump interview with Fox & Friends, May, 8 2020]
Reality: According to today’s BLS report, “The number of permanent job losers continued to rise, increasing by 588,000 to 2.9 million in June.”

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Florida Democrats believe in effective and efficient government that prioritizes quality education, affordable health care, and an economy in which anyone who works hard can succeed.

Most importantly, we believe that we are stronger together. We believe the fundamental American promise — that you can go as far as your own hard work will take you — should shine brightest in Florida.

That is why we champion the middle class and cherish the principle that all Floridians should have the opportunity to work hard and succeed. That is why we will never stop fighting for better public schools, because education is the surest path to a better life for millions.

From standing for affordable health care and better schools to fighting for civil rights and access to the ballot box, Florida Democrats are leading every day to move our state forward.

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