Pence joined CNN’s “New Day” to speak with co-host John Berman, who asked for a projection on the total number of Americans who will die from coronavirus. The vice president said that his task force is “continuing to work everyday to save lives” and is focused on helping reduce the number of cases when the CNN host interrupted him.
“Mr. Vice President… about 1,000 people, newly reported deaths yesterday,” Berman said, speaking over Pence.
After some crosstalk, Pence was allowed to make his point until the next time Berman interrupted.
“Well, let me be very clear, John, if I may … we mourn with those who mourn, never been a day gone by we haven’t thought about families who lost loved ones in the midst of this pandemic, but I must tell you, I truly believe that when President Trump suspended all travel from China before the end of January, and stood up the White house coronavirus task force, and action that Joe Biden criticized as xenophobic, he actually said it was racist to suspend travel from China, the reality is, that bought us an invaluable amount of time to begin work on a vaccine,” Pence said.
“Right, Mr. Vice President,” Berman said, trying to intervene, but Pence continued speaking.
“I got a news flash for Joe Biden, John, that is that we think there is a miracle around the corner because the president called on pharmaceutical companies, we believe it’s very likely that we’ll have one or more vaccines for the coronavirus before the end of this year,” Pence said.
“That’s a tribute to President Trump’s leadership.”
Berman then cut him off, repeatedly speaking over the vice president in the process and saying, “My question, just so people know, was ‘How many more Americans will lose their lives by the end of the year?”
The CNN host then disputed several of Pence’s talking points and went back to his initial inquiry.
“My question to you, again, about where we are and where we will be, stems from this. On June 16, you wrote that we are winning the fight against the invisible enemy… and the panic is overblown, you said that on June 16,” Berman said. “Since then, 53,000 more Americans have died … so how was the concern overblown?”
Pence noted that, at the time, cases were on the decline and some believed the coronavirus would be seasonal.
“Some time around Memorial Day things changed,” Pence said as Berman cut him off.
“So you were wrong? You were wrong on June 16? Were you wrong on June 16?” Berman said.
Pence shot back, “CNN was wrong about a lot early in the year as well, John. We’ve all been learning all along the way about this coronavirus.”
Pence then praised Trump’s leadership throughout the pandemic and the steps the task force has taken to help find a vaccine.