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Ahead of Nevada Visit and VP Debate, Failed Coronavirus Task Force Leader Mike Pence Must Answer for Trump Administration’s Disastrous Pandemic Response

As Mike Pence takes the debate stage tomorrow and visits Nevada this week, he must answer for the Trump administration’s ineffective pandemic response and failed leadership. As chair of the White House Coronavirus Task Force since late February, Pence oversees the federal response to the pandemic and he owns that failed record more than anyone but his boss in the Oval Office. 

Nevada State Democratic Party spokesperson Madison Mundy released the following statement:

“Mike Pence’s visit to Nevada will be as devoid of meaningful solutions as his disastrous leadership of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. As Pence takes the debate stage tomorrow and arrives in our state this week, he must answer for his failed coronavirus response, and the fact that the Trump administration has had four years to deliver on its promises to Nevada families and has come up empty-handed at every turn. Instead of parachuting into Nevada, Pence should focus on containing the virus and getting relief to the working families suffering under the Trump administration’s failed leadership.” 

BACKGROUND ON TRUMP AND PENCE’S FAILED PANDEMIC RESPONSE

Earlier this year in June, failed White House coronavirus task force leader Mike Pence wrote an op-ed claiming that “we were winning the fight against the invisible enemy,” and that fears of a second wave were “overblown.”

  • Nothing could be further from the truth. At the same time in June, the White House was receiving increasingly dire warnings about “red zone” states — like Nevada — that were facing skyrocketing cases and rising test positivity rates.

Meanwhile, from the start of the pandemic, Pence and Trump’s ineffective and neglectful handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on Nevadans’ health and economic security. 

  • There have been more than 82,00 reported cases of COVID-19 in Nevada and more than 1,600 Nevadans have tragically lost their lives due to the virus.
    The pandemic left nearly 200,000 Nevadans unemployed and devastated our economy, which for multiple months had the nation’s highest unemployment rate.
  • Trump and Pence let PPP funds meant for small businesses go to large corporations and companies owned by his donors and allies, while leaving Nevada’s small businesses out in the cold. 

Trump has known since early February that the airborne coronavirus spreads easily through crowds and was far more dangerous than the flu.

  • Despite this, Trump misled the American public on the threat of the pandemic and proceeded to downplay the seriousness of COVID-19 for months.
  • Trump continued to hold indoor campaign rallies across the country — including two in Nevada in late February and in September.
  • In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal following his indoor rally in Henderson in September, Trump made clear he wasn’t concerned with his supporters potentially contracting COVID-19 during his events. 

In a televised Oval Office address, Trump promised that the White House would marshal “the full power of the federal government and the private sector to protect the American people”  [Oval Office Address, 3/11/20].

Trump’s failed pandemic response made the economic and public health fallout worse, particularly for communities of color, who are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus crisis.

  • Trump failed to respond to the racial disparities being exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis. Data shows that Black, Latino, and Native American communities have been disproportionately hurt during the pandemic.
  • In Nevada, Latinos have contracted the virus in the greatest numbers relative to their share of the population. In Southern Nevada alone, Latinos make up the highest rate of infections, at a rate of twice that compared to non-Hispanic whites.
  • During the second quarter of the year, Nevada was the state with the highest Latino unemployment rate at 30%, up nearly 5% compared to last quarter.