- Reporters called Vice President Mike Pence from the newsroom on Thursday after he left no questions after the first briefing in months of the White House coronavirus working group.
- The members of the working group addressed the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the United States.
- President Donald Trump has not attended the meeting and has been relatively silent about the election pandemic, instead choosing to investigate baseless allegations of election fraud through dozens of failed court challenges.
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Reporters shouted at Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday after he decided not to answer questions at the first briefing in months of the White House coronavirus working group.
“You are all undermining democratic elections!”
—Census (@therecount) November 19, 2020
Pence was joined by Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birks, Minister of Health and Human Services Alex Hazard and General Gustave Perna, who oversees the spread of vaccines.
Birks warned Americans to be cautious and take appropriate action as cases continue to rise in the United States.
“It’s really a call to action for every American to be more vigilant,” Birks said.
The United States registered 170,161 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The estimated death toll from the virus in the country also exceeded 250,000 on Wednesday.
Pence offered an optimistic tone and said President Donald Trump was advising the task force to talk to reporters. Trump has not attended the conference and has made several public appearances since losing his re-election candidacy.
Trump has not said much publicly about the election day pandemic, instead he has chosen to pursue baseless allegations of election fraud through dozens of failed lawsuits.
Last week, he turned to the news that the pharmaceutical company Pfizer published the results of tests showing its experimental vaccine COVID-19 as highly effective. Following the initial Twitter message that this was “SUCH GREAT NEWS”, Trump unreasonably accused the company of holding back the findings until after the election, a claim that the company quickly denied.
Pence tried to reassure Americans as the pandemic raged: “Even when we see help along the way, vaccines are being developed at a historic pace, as I mentioned before. As we gather today, we see cases and positivity rising across the country,” Pence said.
“But we approach this moment with the confidence of experience. We know that Americans know what to do. We have created a partnership that is really seamless with state and local health authorities.”
During Thursday’s conference, reporters pushed Pence why he was not asking questions. They called out remarks about Trump’s recent actions and asked why the White House had stopped asking questions from reporters.