Trump’s Latest Coronavirus Incompetence: Mike Pence

Trump choosing Mike Pence to lead the coronavirus response is the latest example of his incompetence in responding to this crisis. Pence’s resume in dealing with pandemics consists of contributing to the worst HIV outbreak in Indiana history. And to show how serious he is taking his new role, Pence will take time off today to speak at CPAC before heading to Florida tomorrow for a fundraising dinner.

Trump said he put Pence in charge because he wanted to base the coronavirus response on the “great success” of Pence’s “Indiana model.” 

Trump: “Anybody that knows anything about health care, they look at the Indiana model and it’s been a very great success. It’s been a tremendous model in terms of health care. And this is really an offshoot of that.”

As Indiana governor, Pence’s policies and inaction enabled the state’s largest HIV outbreak in history.

HuffPost: “It’s a shame, since lackluster public health efforts are what led to the defining moment of Pence’s one-term Indiana governorship: a massive HIV outbreak spurred by public health funding cuts and Pence’s moralistic stance against needle exchanges.  A timeline of the HIV outbreak, the worst in state history, reads like a roadmap of what to do if you want to create a public health crisis.”

Pence’s initial opposition to needle exchange exacerbated Indiana’s HIV crisis, which was otherwise “entirely preventable.”

The Director of Public Policy at the Foundation for AIDS Research: “Millett called Indiana’s HIV outbreak ‘entirely preventable.’ ‘Indiana taxpayers could have been saved millions of dollars for treating those affected by the HIV outbreak if effective prevention policies were already in place,’ he said.”

Pence championed health spending cuts that led to Scott County’s only HIV testing center being closed not long before the outbreak began there.HuffPost: “Pence first laid the groundwork for

Indiana’s HIV outbreak as a congressman back in 2011, when the House passed his amendment to defund Planned Parenthood. Then in 2013, Pence’s first year as governor of Indiana, Scott County’s one Planned Parenthood closed in the wake of public health spending cuts. Since that particular Planned Parenthood was also the county’s only HIV testing center, there was no longer a place for the county’s 24,000 residents to get tested.”

Less than 24 hours after being named to lead the coronavirus response, Pence will take time off to address the conservative CPAC conference and fundraise in Florida.

Herald Tribune: “Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to fly into Sarasota Friday and then travel to Longboat Key for a fundraiser at the home of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan. The event will raise money for the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is trying to take back the House this fall.”