Oct 08, 2020

Mike Pence’s impossible task, CNN.com

Peter Bergen: Mike Pence's impossible task Vice President Mike Pence had an impossible task Wednesday night. As the head of the Trump administration's coronavirus task force, Pence had to defend the administration's record when more than 210,000 Americans are already dead from Covid-19. Pence flunked that test, not least because his boss has Covid and is working in the Oval Office without quarantining himself, in defiance of his own administration's guidelines about what to do if you have the disease. The Trump administration always focuses on the visuals. The images from the debate told one story as both vice presidential candidates were separated by plexiglass and sat more than 12 feet away from each other -- while Pence resorted to his usual set of bromides about the greatness of the Trump presidency, At one point, Pence was asked why the US had fared worse than a similar industrialized democracy -- Canada -- with its response to the pandemic. Pence really had no good answer to that question, instead blaming China. The Chinese certainly deserve some blame for their early missteps in Wuhan, where the virus originated, but that was back in late 2019 and early 2020. Nine months later and Pence articulated no real plan about how a second Trump administration might try and finally lick this virus. Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst, a vice president at New America and a professor of practice at Arizona State University. He is senior editor of the Coronavirus Daily Brief and author of the new book "Trump and His Generals: The Cost of Chaos