NORCROSS, Georgia — Vice President Mike Pence told Breitbart News that he and President Donald Trump are excited to get the United States reopened and moving again as the coronavirus pandemic recedes nationwide.
Backstage after a roundtable with local business leaders here at Waffle House corporate headquarters, where Pence and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp appeared to encourage the continued reopening of the country, Pence told Breitbart News that Georgia’s efforts led by Kemp to reopen aggressively have been successful and are a model for the nation. All 50 states have begun reopening in one way or another, Pence noted in the interview that aired on Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel, citing Georgia and Florida—where Pence visited earlier in the week with Gov. Ron DeSantis—as examples for the country.
“It would be on April 15, 30 days into the mitigation efforts that we presented to the country—that the president directed the White House Coronavirus Task Force to publish guidelines for opening up America,” Pence said. “We believed because of what the American people were doing and continued to do over that 45 days that we would be in a position for some states and some counties around the country to begin to reopen and put America back to work. Nobody wants to reopen this country more than President Donald Trump. So we equipped governors around the country to be ready for when the 45 Days to Slow the Spread came to an end. Georgia and Florida and other states around the country evaluated the cases in their state, evaluated the data, and have been and have taken steps that are now demonstrating that we can safely and responsibly reopen our economy without putting the people of this country’s health and wellbeing at risk. I think Gov. Kemp also and Gov. DeSantis also recognize that this isn’t a choice between health and a growing economy. It really is a choice between health and health. There are serious health consequences if we were to continue indefinitely the lockdowns that we asked the American people to embrace for 45 days. I must tell you, I know the president is as grateful as I am that as we sit here today, 50 states—all 50 states—have begun the process of reopening their economies. But Georgia is leading the way and demonstrating that you can safely and responsibly reopen your businesses, reopen your restaurants, and put the people of your state back to work, and still, hospitalizations are declining, cases are declining, and, most importantly, fatalities are declining. The people of Georgia are doing it, and I couldn’t be more proud to be here.”
Asked if some Democrat governors, such as Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer and Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf, are moving fast enough, Pence cited his close relationship with governors and noted that every state is ready to reopen. He also praised the protesters nationwide pushing for a faster reopening of their states.
“When the president tapped me to lead the White House Coronavirus Task Force, he directed me to forge a seamless partnership with governors around the country of both political parties. We’ve done that,” Pence said. “We continue to believe, whether it be on a statewide basis or a regional or county basis, that every state in America is in a position to begin the process of reopening. Fortunately, as of this week, all 50 states have begun that process. What we’re committed to doing, whether it be providing supplies for testing, whether it be providing personal protective equipment not just for healthcare workers, but for businesses that are beginning the process of reopening, we’re absolutely committed to being a full partner with states. But the president and I truly believe we [have] got to get this country open again. There are profound costs that go well beyond the economy to a prolonged shutdown. I’ve always believed this was a freedom-loving country. I’m very heartened to see people across the country letting their voice be heard, letting governors in every state know they want their freedom back. What Georgia is demonstrating is people are prepared to continue practicing the hygiene and social distancing necessary to protect their families and their neighbors and members of their community. We’ll continue to urge every state to look at the president’s guidelines to open up America again and look for ways, whether it be a portion of a state or the entire state, to get the economy moving again.”
Pence, whom Trump appointed to lead the White House Coronavirus Task Force nearly three months ago, told Breitbart News that the country has learned a lot about the coronavirus since the beginning of this whole process as well.
“It’s been a learning process every day,” Pence said. “We knew early on that the coronavirus was several times more contagious than the common flu. But there’s been hopeful developments as well. We’ve seen that because of what the American people have done and the sacrifices they’ve made that, despite the fact we’re dramatically increasing testing, cases are still going down. Positivity rates are declining. Today, more than 40 states are finding that less than ten percent of the people who are tested test positive for the coronavirus—and 22 states, less than five percent of those tested are testing positive. So we’ve learned a great deal about the impact of social distancing.”
Pence also pointed to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) scientific study that demonstrates the half-life of the virus drops off significantly with ultraviolet light, higher heat, and humidity. Such “summer conditions,” which are now here in most of the country, he said, will hopefully stop the spread of the virus even more.
“We also, the Department of Homeland Security, did a study we published a month ago that found that ultraviolet light—sunlight—and humidity, summer conditions, actually have a profound impact on reducing what’s called the half life of the virus and reducing its potential threat,” Pence said. “But, finally, I think what we’ve also learned is that this is primarily conveyed through respiratory habits. It’s the reason social distancing and hygiene continue to be important. The CDC issued guidance reiterating the threat of transmission on hard surfaces is significantly less than conveyed through respiration. So we’re understanding a great deal more about it, but I can tell you what I think we’ve learned the most is the American people will rise to any challenge when called upon to do so—when families that have put loved ones, especially the elderly’s health first, they make great sacrifices — businesses large and small. We heard today from some small businesses before they learned there was going to be any federal assistance went out and a business owner borrowed against his home so he could keep people on the payroll. I’m very proud of the CARES Act and I’m very proud through Paycheck Protection that we found a way to keep people on the payroll of businesses that were shuttered through the 45 Days to Slow the Spread and through the course of this pandemic, but businesses responded with great charity and great generosity, and I think we’ve learned a lot about the virus, but I think we’ve reaffirmed everything we always knew about the goodness and common sense of the American people.”