Vice President Pence on Wednesday tried to brush off concerns about a Sept. 26 ceremony at the White House Rose Garden, suspected to be the event where multiple people in President Trump’s orbit contracted the coronavirus.
During Wednesday night’s vice-presidential debate, Pence said there had been much “speculation” around the event.
“It was an outdoor event, which all of our scientists regularly and routinely advise,” he added. There was, however, an indoor portion to the event that Pence failed to mention.
Indoors or outdoors, most of the guests at the event did not wear masks and were not socially distanced. Photos and videos from the event showed guests mingling, hugging and shaking hands. Nearly a dozen people who attended have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Pence didn’t directly respond when asked how the American people should be expected to follow coronavirus safety guidelines that he did not. The vice president said the American people showed they were willing to make sacrifices over the past seven months but qualified that “the reality is, the work of the president of the United States goes on.”
Pence defended the Rose Garden event, saying many people who were there were tested beforehand.
“The difference here is, President Trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interest of their health,” he said. “We’re about freedom and respecting the freedom of the American people.”
Harris responded: “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 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 themselves.”