As Vice President Pence takes the debate stage tonight, he will have to answer for his role as chair of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. When President Trump announced this position in late February he said, “I’m having everybody report to Mike … Mike will report to me.” On Pence and Trump’s watch, the United States has had the most coronavirus cases and the most coronavirus deaths in the world. Florida has been at the epicenter of this crisis, as hundreds of thousands remain out of work and more 720,000 residents have been infected since late February.
Vice President Pence made several visits to Florida as head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, routinely flouting public health guidelines, misleading Floridians to downplay the threat of the pandemic, and making promises the Trump administration failed to keep.
Here is a timeline of VP Pence’s most notable Florida trips:
February 28th: 0 confirmed COVID casesDays after being named head of the coronavirus task force, Floridians were charged $25,000-per-plate to dine with the Vice President for a high dollar fundraiser in Longboat Key, Florida.
May 20th: 47,471 confirmed COVID casesPence visited Orlando to partake in a premature victory lap with DeSantis, during which they held a maskless photo op in Orlando. During this visit, Pence declared that Florida had “flattened the curve” and DeSantis claimed he had “succeeded.” Dr. Fauci later said Florida “jumped over a couple of checkpoints” and reopened too soon.
May 30th: 55,000 confirmed COVID casesPence attended the Space X Demo 2 Launch and his only reference to coronavirus was that the nation was taking its “first steps to reopen and recover from an unprecedented pandemic.”
July 2nd: 169,106 confirmed COVID casesAs the state broke records for daily increases in confirmed COVID cases, Pence visited Tampa to stump for Trump after cancelling a “Great American Comeback” bus tour across Florida.
Pence promised that “We’re going to make sure that Florida has the resources, the medicines, the testing, and the supplies to meet this moment.” Not even two weeks later, South Florida hospitals reported supply shortages and three months later, hospitals continued to experience supply shortages.
July 8th: 223,783 confirmed COVID casesAt a White House coronavirus task force briefing, Pence again claimed that there were “early indications” that Florida was flattening the curve, despite the positivity rate continuing to rise. His remarks were later denounced as “obvious propaganda” by the head of the Scripps Research Translational Institute.
July 11th: 254,511 confirmed COVID casesPence flouted local mask mandate for a private meeting with the Jacksonville RNC Host Committee. He did this as cases in Duval County began spiking and several Northeast Florida hospitals reinstated visitation restrictions.
July 27th: 432,747 confirmed COVID casesIn Miami, Pence touted the “the favorable trends that are beginning to emerge here in Florida are a great tribute to the strong leadership of your governor and his administration…” The positivity rate at the time was 11.39%.
August 5th: 500,000 confirmed COVID casesAs Florida announced a record-high weekly death average and added the highest number of coronavirus hospitalizations in a single day, Pence again returned for a crowded indoor campaign event where, according to the Tampa Bay Times, “as the event progressed inside the ballroom some attendees removed masks to speak to each other.”
*** MEDIA ADVISORY FOR TODAY AT 1:30 PM ***
TODAY: Ahead of VP Debate, Congresswoman Shalala, State Sen. Rodríguez, Dr. Enneking to Highlight Consequences of Trump-Pence Admin’s Failed Coronavirus Response in Florida
FLORIDA — Today, Wednesday, October 7 at 1:30 PM, ahead of the vice presidential debate, Congresswoman Donna Shalala, 18th U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, State Senator José Javier Rodríguez, and Dr. Kayser Enneking, Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Florida and candidate for Florida’s 21st House District will host a virtual press conference to discuss the Trump-Pence administration’s disastrous coronavirus response and Mike Pence’s failed leadership as head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
WHAT: Virtual press conference
WHO: Congresswoman Donna Shalala. FL-27State Senator José Javier Rodríguez, SD-37Dr. Kayser Enneking, MD, Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Florida and candidate for HD-21
WHEN: Wednesday, October 7th at 1:30 PM
WHERE: Registration available here
ICYMI: Orlando Sentinel: Will women voters turn Seminole blue in a presidential year?
A new report from the Orlando Sentinel highlighted how women in Seminole have the power to flip the county blue, both as voters and as candidates. The article highlighted the shift of suburban women to the Democratic side which is a trend we have seen across the nation. It also focused on the phenomenal women candidates running for state and local office in Seminole. From Patricia Sigman who is running for Senate District 9, to the State House candidates, Pasha Baker, HD-, Tracey Kagan HD-, and Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil, to the local candidates like Deborah Poulalion for Seminole County Supervisor of Elections and Moira “Lynn” Dictor for Seminole County Tax Collector, women are ready to lead in Seminole.
Orlando Sentinel: Will women voters turn Seminole blue in a presidential year?
By Annie Martin and Ryan Gillespie | October 5, 2020
- “The suburban women of Seminole County may hold the keys to the White House and a slate of crucial state races”
- “Women voters outnumber men by more than 26,000 and make up more than half of the electorate in the community just north of Orlando. That has helped transform Seminole, a once-reliable Republican stronghold, into one of the most important swing counties in the country’s most important swing state during this year’s presidential election.”
- “Democrats have fielded female candidates in the contests for each of the county’s four seats in the Florida Legislature — one Senate race and three House races, each of which pits a Democratic woman against a Republican man in showdowns that could tilt the balance of power in Tallahassee.”
- “Democrats and those registered without a party affiliation now make up 65% of women voters there, a change that is visible not just on the voter rolls, but in yards and the ads flooding mailboxes, too.”
- “Also in 2016, Democrat Stephanie Murphy unseated Republican John Mica for a congressional seat that covers all of Seminole and northern Orange counties, an upset that now seems a harbinger of what was to come.”
- “Democrat Andrew Gillum edged out Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis by 1.8 percentage points in [Seminole].”
- “‘Pre-2016, a district like SD9 would never be on Democratic radar as a pickup opportunity,’ wrote Matthew Isbell in a recent piece for his MCI Maps, a political analysis website. ‘Seminole County has long been a solid red suburb … But like many suburbs across America, the mood is rapidly changing.’
- “We are all trying to shatter a glass ceiling, but also give women a voice they have never had,” said Baker, 39 [HD-28]. She and her committee have raised just more than $80,000.
- “Tracey Kagan, a Democrat who is running to represent Florida House District 29 in west Seminole, said she thinks women are particularly motivated to vote because they’re worried about the pandemic and about how Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court could affect their reproductive rights and the future of the Affordable Care Act… Kagan and her PAC have raised $233,968.”
- “More broadly, what the polls show is that college-educated white voters are a little less likely to support Trump than previous Republicans.”
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