More than 39,130 people had died of the coronavirus by Sunday afternoon, and the leaders sitting at the helm of American government—the very people tasked with coming up with priorities to fight the virus’ spread—were still refusing to depart from their devout allegiance to the almighty dollar. While President Donald Trump asserted his loyalty through a stream of tweets and ill-conceived coronavirus briefing Saturday, urging governors to “step up” to get Americans back to work, Vice President Mike Pence did so by attempting to join Fox News in passing off a select few anti-social distancing protestors as an American majority he absolutely must accommodate as soon as possible.
Pence, who is leading the White House Coronavirus Task Force, seemed to succinctly summarize the dynamic duo’s true priority in a “Fox News Sunday” interview. "America works when America is working,” the vice president said. “And the president wants to see us put the coronavirus in the past by these strong measures the American people have embraced, but we want to get America working again just as soon as we can."
In the interview, Pence said the White House expects to see the number of coronavirus tests administered daily increase from 150,000 to 300,000. He said reaching the goal would mean "working with governors to activate all of the laboratories in their states around the country that can do coronavirus testing." Trump’s version of that statement was considerably less diplomatic Saturday when the president declared America “king of ventilators” and laid the blame at the feet of governors for claims they had a “tremendous” ability to test more people.
"The governors are responsible for testing, and I hope they’re going to be able to use this tremendous amount of available capacity that we have,” Trump said. “It’s up to 1 million additional tests per week.” Trump also said he’s getting 5.5 million testing swabs. “It’s not a big deal. You can get cotton easily,” he said. “But if they can’t get it, we will take care of it.”
The vice president said Sunday Trump has given directives to lay out guidelines for states to responsibly reopen the country’s businesses, parks, and other social and economic spaces closed when several states instituted stay-at-home orders. "No one in America wants to reopen this country more than President Donald Trump," Pence said.
The White House recommends that states with 14 days of consecutive declines in coronavirus cases and "proper hospitalization capacity" begin easing social distancing measures and allowing some people to come back to work, Pence said. Neither Pence nor Trump has been forthcoming with details of how the federal government plans to make sure states have what they need to properly increase coronavirus testing.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said it was "delusional" for Trump and Pence to allege the United States has enough testing for states to start opening businesses. "We've been fighting for testing," he said. "It's not a straight forward test. We don't even have enough swabs, believe it or not."
Northam got unlikely support Sunday from a bipartisan group of governors also criticizing the president for his claim that governors have everything they need, Politico reported. "To try to push this off, to say that the governors have plenty of testing and they should just get to work on testing — somehow we aren't doing our job — is just absolutely false," Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told CNN. "Every governor in America has been pushing and fighting and clawing to get more tests, not only from the federal government but from every private lab in America and from all across the world, and we continue to do so," Hogan, a Republican, added.