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Mike Pence went down in a blizzard of lies when pressed on the Trump coronavirus response

October 8, 2020 in Blogs

By Igor Derysh


Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly made false claims about the Trump administration’s coronavirus response as he dodged, interrupted and obfuscated through the vice presidential debate on Wednesday.

Though the lone vice presidential debate was far more civil than the mind-melting presidential debate last week, it was not much different in substance. Moderator Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief for USA Today, asked Pence and Democratic nominee Kamala Harris about a range of important issues but completely failed to press the candidates to actually respond to her questions. That allowed Pence to repeatedly dodge questions he did not want to answer about Trump’s health, racial justice and even abortion.

Pence also refused to say what he would do if Trump rejected a peaceful transition of power, instead echoing the president’s false claims about virtually non-existent voter fraud.

The two candidates were divided by plexiglass barriers after President Donald Trump and numerous top aides tested positive for the coronavirus following a possible “super spreader” White House event where Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett was formally announced. Pence’s unusually red eyes prompted speculation about whether he had “COVID pink eye,” and he was instantly turned into a meme when a fly sat on his head for a full two minutes during one of the segments.

Harris also dodged questions throughout the night as she was repeatedly interrupted by Pence. CBS News found that Pence interrupted Harris twice as much as she interrupted him. Despite avoiding questions about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s health and whether the ticket supports expanding the Supreme Court, fact-checkers concluded that Harris was far more honest than her Republican opponent, who repeatedly made false and misleading claims about the Trump administration’s coronavirus response. Pence heads the chair of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Harris called the response to the pandemic the “greatest failure of any presidential administration,” repeatedly pointing out the mounting death toll in the U.S. Pence responded by bizarrely claiming that the Obama-Biden response to the H1N1 swine flu in 2009 was a bigger “failure,” because that virus …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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This is why we should just cancel the remaining 2020 debates

October 8, 2020 in Blogs

By Salon


Wednesday night’s debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris — the first and only vice presidential debate of this campaign — actually changed my mind about the 2020 election.

After last week’s disastrous joke of a debate between former vice president Joe Biden and President Trump, I somehow remained onboard with holding the remaining debates as scheduled, if for no other reason than to allow Americans a sense of normalcy and order in what has otherwise been a chaotic and upending year.

Yeah, no. “Normal” is what landed us here. Trump’s announcement on Thursday morning that he would not participate in next week’s town-hall debate with Biden, after the debate commission announced plans to hold it remotely, may actually be a blessing. (If the president can be counted on not to change his mind, which of course he cannot.)

In the event, both “debates” to this point have been pathetic. No one actually answers questions, and the moderators have shown no will to actually moderate. More specifically, the matchup between Harris and Pence will be remembered for its historical first — with the first Black woman and first Asian-American on such a debate stage, embodied in the same person — but perhaps even more so because it should never have occurred.

As PressWatch and Salon columnist Dan Froomkin wrote ahead of Wednesday’s debate, Pence’s “very presence [was] an affront to public health guidance the rest of the country is supposed to be following.” The vice president’s reddened left eye didn’t help buttress CDC Director Robert Redfeld’s absurd claim that Pence couldn’t be considered a “close contact” of President Trump, who confirmed he had tested positive for COVID-19 after his debate with Biden last week, giving Pence the all-clear to appear on the debate stage in Salt Lake City.

Top brass at the Pentagon are quarantining after at least two high-ranking military officers tested positive for the coronavirus in the past week. More people in Trump’s orbit have tested positive in that time period than in all of Taiwan. Still, second lady Karen Pence insisted on appearing inside the debate hall maskless, and the vice president posed for pictures in definitively close contact with former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker — of course, without a mask.

Even though …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Pence cancels planned trip for mysterious reasons

October 8, 2020 in Blogs

By The New Civil Rights Movement

Vice President Mike Pence has just canceled a scheduled trip with Second Lady Karen Pence to visit their home state of Indiana.

The Pences were slated to travel to Indiana to cast their ballots in the presidential election. The White House offered “no explanation,” the press pool notes, as to why the trip will not take place as scheduled, but says the trip has been “postponed.” No new date has been announced.

“Nobody’s sick,” Pence spokesperson Devin O’Malley says, according to New York magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi. “There’s no positive tests. The VP is planning on travelling on Saturday and Monday. We’ll have more information on the vice president’s schedule next week soon.”

The Vice President this evening will hold a “Make America Great Again” rally, one day after being accused of having pink eye at Wednesday night’s debate by a CNN medical analyst.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'A shameless stunt': Critics are horrified at Trump's mad dash to use government funds to save his campaign

October 8, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

If President Donald Trump loses to former Vice President Joe Biden in this year’s presidential election, two of the main reasons are likely to be his response to his COVID-19 pandemic and his health care policy — specifically, Trump’s push to eliminate the Affordable Care Act and its protections for people with preexisting conditions. One desperate move that Trump is making in the hope of saving his campaign is promising senior citizens drug discount cards, and Politico’s Dan Diamond is reporting that Trump wants them to be available before November 3.

Diamond reports:

Caught by surprise by President Donald Trump’s promise to deliver drug-discount cards to seniors, health officials are scrambling to get the nearly $8 billion plan done by Election Day, according to five officials and draft documents obtained by Politico. The taxpayer-funded plan, which was only announced two weeks ago and is being justified inside the White House and the Health Department as a test of the Medicare program, is being driven by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, the officials said.

The $200 cards, Diamond notes, “would resemble credit cards” and “would need to be used at pharmacies” — and they “would be paid for by tapping Medicare’s trust fund.”

Politico has obtained a copy of a draft proposal for the plan that has been circulated in the White House, and according to the proposal, “The goal is to begin the test by distributing cards starting in October 2020.”

Trump’s idea for drug discount cards for seniors comes at a time when many polls are showing his support among seniors falling. And Rep. Frank Pallone, the Democrat who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, isn’t the least bit impressed by the proposal. Pallone told Politico, “It’s a shameless stunt that steals billions from Medicare in order to fund a legally dubious scheme that’s clearly intended to benefit President Trump’s campaign right before Election Day.”

An official for the Department of Health and Human Services, quoted anonymously, told Politico, “It’s turning into this last-minute, thrown-together thing.” And another HHS official interviewed by Politico said, “This is a solution in search of a problem and a bald play for votes in the form of money in pockets.”

Stacie Dusetzina, a professor at Vanderbilt University who has studied Medicare’s drug program, went over the draft proposal …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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White House continues the world's most obvious cover-up

October 8, 2020 in Blogs

By Daily Kos

My goodness, the White House really, really doesn’t want the public to know when Donald Trump last tested negative for COVID-19. Reporters once again tried to pin down an official—in this case White House Director of Strategic Communications Alyssa Farah—on this question, and once again got an impressive display of dodging and evading in response.

“I can’t reveal that at this time,” Farah answered to a direct question about the date of Trump’s last negative. “Doctors would like to keep it private.” [Here pause to scoff.]

Pool reporter Noah Robertson reports that Farah’s responses to follow-ups included “My understanding is that it’s his private medical history” and “I’m happy to raise that to the doctors, but my understanding is that we’re not making it public.”

This isn’t about the doctors. This is about Trump having something to hide—quite possibly that Trump knew he was positive, or at least that he had been exposed, before the debate. Presidents traditionally give out more health information than average people because they understand that it’s in the public interest to know whether the leader of the country is healthy, and because part of what you trade for power is the responsibility to be transparent.

But Trump is extremely afraid to have information about his health become public even though, in this case, we know his diagnosis. It’s not like reporters are digging around to find out whether he has syphilis and if so, where he contracted it. They just want to know 1) a reliable timeline for the disease he has publicly talked about having and 2) a little bit more about how much the White House had previously been lying to the public about how often Trump was being tested for the coronavirus. And, okay, whether Trump knowingly debated and campaigned while infectious. That too.

Trump’s doctor is being evasive, but it’s not that the doctor has some deep medical reason for wishing to keep the date of Trump’s last negative test a secret. It’s that Trump, who made doctors sign nondisclosure agreements during his very weird trip to Walter Reed in November 2019, is hiding something and his doctor is following Trump’s wishes. It’s one of the most obvious cover-ups in history, but the White House is sticking with it.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET