Pence and Harris address coronavirus response

Sen. Kamala Harris says Trump's team still doesn't have a plan. Vice President Mike Pence says, “President Trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interest of their health.”
11:53 | 10/08/20

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Transcript for Pence and Harris address coronavirus response
Let's begin with the ongoing pandemic that has cost our country so much. Senator Harris, the coronavirus is not under control. Over the past week, Johns Hopkins reports that 39 states have had more covid cases over the past seven days than in the week before. Nine states have set new records. Even if a vaccine is released soon, the next administration will face hard choices. What would a Biden administration do in January and February that a trump administration wouldn't do? Would you impose new lockdowns for businesses and schools in hot spots? A federal mandate to wear masks? You have two minutes to respond without interruption. Thank you, Susan. Well, the American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country. And here are the facts. 210,000 dead people in our country in just the last several months. Over 7 million people who have contracted this disease. 1 in 5 businesses closed. We're looking at front line workers who have been treated like sacrificial workers. We are looking at over 30 million people who in the last several months had to file for unemployment. And here's the thing. On January 28th, the vice president and the president were informed about the nature of this pandemic, they were informed that it is lethal in consequence, that it is airborne, that it will affect young people and that it would be contracted because it is airborne. And they knew what was happening and they didn't tell you. Can you imagine if you knew on January 28th as opposed to March 13th what they knew, what you might have done to prepare? They knew and they covered it up. The president said it was a they minimized the seriousness of it. The president said, you're on one side of his ledger if you wear a mask, you're on the other side of his ledger if you don't. And in spite of all of that, today, they still don't have a plan. They still don't have a plan. Well, Joe Biden does. And our plan is about what we need to do around a national strategy for contact tracing, for testing, for administration of the vaccine and making sure it will be free for all. That is the plan that Joe Biden and that I have, knowing that we have to get ahold of what has been going on and we need to save our country and Joe Biden is the best leader to do that and frankly, this administration has forfeited their right to re-election. Based on this. Thank you, senator Harris. Vice president pence, more than 210,000 Americans have died of covid-19 since February. The U.S. Death toll as a percentage of our pap lake is higher than that of almost every other wealthy nation on Earth. For instance, our death rate is 2 1/2 times that of Canada next door. You head the administration's coronavirus task force. Why is the U.S. Death toll as a percentage of our population higher than that of almost every other wealthy country and you have two minutes to respond without interruption. Susan, thank you. And I want to thank the commission and the university of Utah for hosting this event and senator Harris, it's a privilege to be on the stage with you. Our nation has gone through a very challenging time this year. But I want the American people to know that from the very first day, president Donald Trump has put the health of America first. Before there were more than five cases in the United States, all people who had returned from China, president Donald Trump did what no other American president had ever done, and that was, he suspended all travel from China, the second-largest economy in the world. Now, senator, Joe Biden opposed that decision. He said it was hysterical. I can tell you, having led the coronavirus task force that that decision bought us invaluable time to stand up the greatest national mobilization since World War II and I believe it saved hundreds of thousands of American lives, because with that time, we were able to reinvent testing, more than 115 million tests have been done to date. We were able to see to the delivery of billions of supports to doctors and nurses had the resources they needed and began, really before the month of February, started to develop a vaccine and to develop medicines and therapeutics that have been saving lives along the way. Under president trump's leadership, operation warp speed, we believe we'll have tens of millions of doses of a vaccine before the end of this year. The reality is, when you look at the Biden plan, it reads an awful lot like what president trump and I and our task force have been doing every step of the way. And quite frankly, when I look at their plan that talks about advancing testing, creating new ppe, developing a vaccine, it looks a little bit like plagiarism, which is something that Joe Biden knows a little bit about. And I think the American people know this is a president who has put America first and the American people, I believe with my heart, can be proud of the sacrifices they have made. Thank you, vice president. Thank you vice president. Senator Harris, would you like to respond? Absolutely. Whatever the vice president is claiming the administration has done, clearly, it hasn't worked. When you are looking at over 210,000 dead bodies in our country. American lives that have been lost, families that have grieving that loss. And, you know, the vice president is the head of the task force. And knew on January 28th how serious this was. And then, thanks to Bob Woodward, we learned that they knew about it and then when that was exposed, the vice president said, when asked, well, why didn't y'all tell anybody? He said because the president wanted people to remain calm. But Susan, this is important, Mr. Vice president, I'm speaking. I have to weigh in. I'm speaking. You have 15 more seconds and then we'll give the vice president a chance. Thank you. I want to ask the American people, how calm are you when you were panicked about when you're going to get your next roll of toilet paper? How calm were you when your kids were sent home from school and you didn't know when they could go back? How calm were you when your children couldn't see your parents because you were afraid they could kill them? Let's give vice president a pence to respond. You have one minute to respond. There's not a day gone by that I haven't thought of every American family that's lost a loved one. And I want all of you to know that you'll always be in our hearts and in our prayers. But when you see what the American people have done hasn't worked, that's a great disservice to the sacrifices the American people have made. I'm referring to the president. If I may finish. The reality, is Dr. Fauci said, everything that he told the president in the oval office, the president told the American people. President trump has boundless confidence in the American people and he always spoke with confidence that we'd get through this together. When you say it hasn't worked, when Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx and our medical experts came to us in the second week of March, they said, if the president didn't take the unprecedented step of shutting down roughly half of the American economy, that we could lose 2.2 million Americans, that's the reality. Thank you. Thank you, vice president. They said to us, if we did everything right, Susan, we could still lose more than 200,000 Americans. One life lost is too much. Thank you. But the American people, I believe, deserve credit for the sacrifices that they have made putting the health of their family and their neighbors first, our doctors, our nurses, our -- Thank you, vice president pence. And I'm going to speak up on behalf of what the American people have done. Vice president pence, you were in the front row in a rose garden event of what seems to have been a superspreader event. No social distancing. Few masks. And now a cluster of coronavirus cases among those who were there. How can you expect Americans to follow the administration's safety guidelines to protect themselves from covid when you at the white house have not been doing so? Well, the American people have demonstrated over the last eight months that when given the facts, they're willing to put the health of their families and their neighbors and people they don't even know first. The president and I have great confidence in the American people and their ability to take that information and put it into in the height of the epidemic, when we were losing a heartbreaking number, 2,500 Americans a day, we surged resources to New Jersey and new York and New Orleans and Detroit, we told the American people what needed to be done and the American people made the sacrifices. When the outbreak in the sun belt happened this summer, again, Americans stepped forward. But the reality is, the work of the president of the united States goes on. Vacancy on the supreme court of the United States has come upon us and the president introduced judge Amy coney Barrett. Thank you, vice president If I may say, that rose garden event, there's been a great deal of speculation about it. My wife Karen and I were there and honored to be there. Many of the people who were at that event, Susan, actually were tested for coronavirus and it was an outdoor event, which all of our scientists regularly and routinely advise. The difference here is, president trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interest of their health. Joe Biden and kamala Harris consistently talk about mandates and not just mandates with the coronavirus, but a government takeover of health care -- Thank you, vice president. The green new deal, all government control. We're about freedom and respecting the freedom of the American people. Let's talk about respecting the American people. You respect the American people when you tell them the truth. You respect the American people when you have the courage -- Which we've always done. To be a leader, speaking of those things that you may not want people to hear but they need to hear so they can protect but this administration stood on information that if you had as a parent, if you had as a worker, knowing you didn't have enough money saved up and now you are standing in a food line because of the ineptitude of an administration that was unwilling to speak the truth to the American people. So, let's talk about caring about the American people. The American people have had to sacrifice far too much because of the incompetence of this administration. It is asking too much of the people. Susan, we talked about It is asking too much of the people, that they would not be equipped with the information they need to help themselves to protect their parents and Kamala Harris, senator Harris -- That's fine, I'm kamala. No, you're senator Harris to me. For life to get back to normal, most of the people that can be vaccinated need to be vaccinated. But half of Americans now say they wouldn't take a vaccine if it was released now. If the trump administration approves a vaccine before or after the election, should Americans take it and would you take it? If the public health professionals, if Dr. Fauci, if the doctors tell us that we should take it, I'll be the first in line to take it, absolutely. If Donald Trump tells us we should take it, I'm not taking

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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