Pence praises Trump's coronavirus response, says things could've been worse
Iran Press TV
Wednesday, 23 September 2020 2:26 PM
Vice President Mike Pence has praised US President Donald Trump over his response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying that things could have been worse.
Speaking at a Make America Great Again event in Gilford on Tuesday, Pence sent his condolences to the victims of coronavirus and their families and called the new record of coronavirus-related deaths a "heartbreaking milestone."
"There's not a day gone by that I haven't thought of families that have lost loved ones in the midst of this pandemic. Know that you've always been in our hearts and you'll remain in our prayers," he said.
However, he claimed that things could have gotten much worse without Trump's early response.
"I truly do believe because of what we've all done together, because of the president's early action putting the health of America first, because of what our first responders and doctors and nurses have done all along the way, because of the compassion, and care and cooperation of the American people, I know in my heart that we have saved hundreds of thousands of American lives," Pence noted.
Pence's remarks were the first official reaction to a report by Johns Hopkins University announcing that the US has passed a milestone of 200,000 coronavirus deaths.
In another reaction to the report, Trump defended his administration's handling of the pandemic on Wednesday, saying the number of fatalities could have been many times higher.
"I think if we didn't do it properly and do it right, you'd have 2.5 million deaths," he told the media as departing for an election campaign event in Pittsburgh.
Trump's administration has been constantly under fire over the past months for its handling of the outbreak.
Recently, the Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward published a book, "Rage," based on 18 on-the-record interviews with Trump between December and July, in which he revealed that the Republican president has deliberately downplayed the danger of the virus in early days.
"I wanted to always play it down," Trump told Woodward in mid March. "I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic."
The stunning revelation comes as many experts believe that Trump could save thousands of American lives if he acted decisively in early February with a strict shutdown.
The book also contains the remarks of several US officials, including Dr. Antony Fauci, slamming Trump for his "rudderless" leadership of the pandemic.
"His sole purpose is to get reelected," Woodward quoted Fauci, the administration's top infectious disease expert, as telling an associate.
Meanwhile, Trump has repeatedly questioned the way coronavirus deaths are being calculated, accusing the US Democrats of downplaying his actions in fight against the virus.
He also spared no effort during the past months to pin the blame on the Chinese officials, claiming that the pandemic has started from a laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
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