Posts tagged with "VP Mike Pence"

Governors call Trump’s testing claims ‘delusional’ and ‘absolutely false’

April 21, 2020

Although President Donald Trump is pushing to “reopen” parts of the country by May 1, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) and California Governor Gavin Newsom (D), along with the leaders of six other states and the District of Columbia, already have extended their COVID-19 lockdowns through May 15.

What’s more, several governors are not mincing words about their opinion of the president’s decision, The Huffington Post reports.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D)—who has extended the lockdown for his state’s residents to June 10 and has instructed non-essential business to remain closed at least through May 8—on Sunday told CNN’s Jake Tapper it was “delusional” for President Donald Trump to claim the U.S. currently has the testing capacity needed for states to relax social distancing measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Maryland’s Republican leader, Governor Larry Hogan, told Tapper that Trump’s claim “is just absolutely false.” “It’s not accurate to say there’s plenty of testing out there and the governors should just get it done,” Hogan said. “That’s just not being straightforward … Every governor in America has been pushing and fighting and clawing to get more tests.”

Hogan added, “Look, we have increased our testing in Maryland by 5,000% over the past month, but it’s nowhere near where it needs to be.”

And they are not alone: Multiple health officials in the Trump administration have cautioned against setting May 1 as a target date to loosen social distancing guidelines, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said last week that the U.S. has not yet developed the testing and tracing procedures needed to begin reopening the economy.

But that hasn’t stopped the president. On Saturday, echoing comments Vice President Mike Pence made a day prior, Trump claimed “experts” had said that “America’s testing capability and capacity is fully sufficient to begin opening up the country totally.”

Indeed, The Huffington Post reports, Trump has taken an adversarial stance toward a number of governors as states struggle to overcome nationwide test shortages. The Trump Administration has tried to cobble together a belated response to the pandemic and has faced criticism after initially calling concerns about the coronavirus a “hoax” and downplaying its impact.

In recent weeks, Trump has used language that appears aimed at shifting responsibility for the economic recovery from the administration to individual states.

“People’s initial reaction is always to look to the president, but as time goes on and it becomes clear other states are doing other things, that blame and credit will shift to the governors, considering they are the ones making the calls,” one Trump political adviser told Politico.

Research contact: @HuffPost

Poll: Fauci and Cuomo are the most trusted leaders on COVID-19 in America right now. Trump is not.

March 31, 2020

Americans say they have the most trust in Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, and Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York when it comes to official information and guidance on the COVID-19 outbreak, a new Business Insider poll shows.

Insider asked, “When it comes to the official advice regarding coronavirus, please rate how much you trust the following messengers on a scale of 1 to 5.”

Using that measure, 1 means strongly distrust; 2, somewhat distrust; 3, neither trust nor distrust; 4, somewhat trust; and 5, strongly trust. Participants were asked to mark “NA,” if they were unfamiliar with the person.

Fauci and Cuomo received the highest marks; with President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin receiving the lowest:

  • Respondents gave Dr. Fauci an average score of 3.84 out of 5 for trustworthiness. Fully 40% gave him a top score of 5, which is nearly double the next highest-rated person, and,all told, 86% gave him a 3 or higher, which is vastly higher than anyone else.
  • Cuomo received an average score of 3.2 9 out of 5. Three-quarters (75%) of respondents gave Cuomo a score of 3 or higher, and 22% gave him 5 out of 5.
  • Global Health Ambassador Dr. Deborah Birx, the coronavirus task force response coordinator, got a score of 3.14 out of 5. About three in four respondents gave Birx a score of three or higher.
  • Governor Gavin Newsom of California got an average score of 2.97 out of 5. Just shy of 70% of people gave Newsom a score of 3 or higher.
  • Former Vice President and likely 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden got an average score of 2.76 out of 5. About 31% of respondents rated Biden a 4 or 5; 27%, a 3 of 5; and 42%, a 1 or 2.
  • Vice President Mike Pence was rated a 2.65 out of 5 on average for trustworthiness. About 33% of respondents rated him a 1.
  • Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar was rated 2.62 out of 5.
  • President Donald Trump was scored 2.56 out of 5 on average. Fully 44% of respondents rate Trump a 1 out of 5; compared to 20%, who rated him a 5 out of 5. The largest group of people—55%—rated Trump as a 1 or 2.
  • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin got the lowest score out of the 10 officials; rating 2.52 out of 5, on average.

According to Business Insider, Fauci’s blunt explanation of the strict scientific facts, calm but no-nonsense demeanor, and subtle sense of humor both in White House briefings and congressional hearings have received rave reviews from the public and made him a household name.

And while Cuomo was previously considered a somewhat divisive figure in New York politics best-known for his incessant feuding with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, respondents felt he’s risen to the occasion during the current crisis.

As the governor of one of the hardest-hit states, Cuomo has been rewarded for massively expanding New York’s testing capacity, aggressively combating the virus with business closures and social distancing, and his daily PowerPoint pep talks to New Yorkers in his press conferences. 

The poll was conducted on behalf of Business Insider by SurveyMonkey. A total of 1,136 respondents were collected on March 25.

Research contact: @businessinsider

Parnas: Trump gave the orders on Ukraine; Giuliani, Pence, and Barr were ‘on the team’

January 17, 2020

The White House reeled as more damning evidence on the Ukraine plot emerged this week, even as the House voted to release its two articles of impeachment to the Senate.

Lev Parnas—the indicted associate of the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who has been implicated in an alleged attempt to coerce Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky—told Rachel Maddow of MSNBC in an exclusive and explosive interview aired on January 15, “… Trump knew exactly what was going on.”

“He was aware of all my movements. I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president. I have no intent, I have no reason to speak to any of these officials,” Parnas revealed.

“I mean, they have no reason to speak to me. Why would President Zelenskiy’s inner circle or Minister Avakov or all these people or President Poroshenko meet with me? Who am I? They were told to meet with me. And that’s the secret that they’re trying to keep. I was on the ground doing their work,” Parnas said.

Zelenskiy was elected president in April, defeating incumbent Petro Poroshenko. Arsen Avakov is Ukraine’s interior minister, NBC News reported.

On Tuesday, the network said, House Democrats released records as part of the evidence that attorneys for Parnas turned over to House impeachment investigators, which show that Giuliani requested a private meeting with Zelenskiy, then the president-elect, with Trump’s “knowledge and consent.”

The evidence appears to bolster Democrats’ argument that Giuliani was doing Trump’s bidding by trying to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee.

In response to Parnas’ interview, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Thursday morning, “These allegations are being made by a man who is currently out on bail for federal crimes and is desperate to reduce his exposure to prison.”

“The facts haven’t changed — the president did nothing wrong and this impeachment, which was manufactured and carried out by the Democrats has been a sham from the start,” Grisham said.

In a statement to “The Rachel Maddow Show” while the program was airing, Giuliani denied that he told Ukrainian officials that Parnas spoke on behalf of Trump.

“Never,” Giuliani responded when asked whether Parnas was speaking for Trump.

Asked whether he believed Parnas was lying, Giuliani said, “All I can say is the truth.” Giuliani said of Parnas, “He’s a very sad situation.”

The president, himself, continued to stick to the same script, tweeting, “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer just said, “The American people want a fair trial in the Senate.” True, but why didn’t Nervous Nancy and Corrupt politician Adam “Shifty” Schiff give us a fair trial in the House. It was the most lopsided & unfair basement hearing in the history of Congress!”

The impeachment articles against Trump center on an alleged campaign by Trump to pressure Zelenskiy to announce investigations into Biden and his son Hunter, who served on the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma in 2014 until he left last year.

“Yeah, it was all about Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and also Rudy had a personal thing with the Manafort stuff. The black ledger,” Parnas told Maddow.

Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, is serving a 7½-year prison sentence for tax evasion and violating federal lobbying laws after having been charged

Parnas also told the MSNBC anchor that Vice President Mike Pence’s planned trip to attend Zelenskiy’s inauguration in May was canceled because the Ukrainians did not agree to the demand for an investigation of the Bidens. “Oh, I know 100% . It was 100%,” he said.

Asked whether Pence was aware of a “quid pro quo” around the visit, Parnas replied by quoting Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who said during the House impeachment inquiry: “Everybody was in the loop.”

Maddow said her show asked for comment from Pence and had not received a response.

Parnas said Attorney General William Barr was also likely aware of what was going on. Parnas said that he never spoke with Barr but that “I was involved with lots of conversations” that Giuliani and another person had with Barr in front of him.

“Mr. Barr had to have known everything. I mean, it’s impossible,” Parnas told Maddow. “Attorney General Barr was basically on the team.”

Asked about Trump’s denial that he knows him, Parnas said, “He lied.”

Parnas said he wants to testify in the Senate impeachment trial. “I want to get the truth out,” he said, “because I feel it’s important for our country.”

The impeachment trial has been scheduled to start on January 21.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Is Nikki Haley positioning herself to replace Mike Pence on Trump’s 2020 ticket?

November 13, 2019

She is one of the few Trump Administration headliners who has departed while still on good terms with the president. And on her current book tour, Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations, has characterized the POTUS as “truthful.”

Now, political pundits are asking, does Haley have an agenda? And more specifically, is she angling to replace Mike Pence on the 2020 GOP ticket as vice president?

Less than three months ago, Yahoo News pointed out on November 12, Haley shut down speculation that she was seeking to replace VP Mike Pence.

“Enough of the false rumors,” she tweeted on August 21. “Vice President Pence has been a dear friend of mine for years. He has been a loyal and trustworthy VP to the President. He has my complete support.”

But the speculation has resumed during Haley’s promotional tour for her new book, which some observers—including the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough—believe is doubling as an audition for the role of Trump’s running mate.

Haley’s book, entitled With All Due Respect: Defending America With Grit and Grace, which was released on Tuesday, November 12, is respectful toward Trump and dismissive of some of his other cabinet members, including former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and ex-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whom she says tried to recruit her to “save the country” by undermining Trump, Yahoo reports.

She writes, “Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country. ‘We are doing the best we can do to save the country,’ they said. We need you to work with us and help us do it.”

Both Kelly and Tillerson have denied that they were on a mission to undermine Trump. (Kelly told The Washington Post that if providing the president “with the best and most open, legal and ethical staffing advice … is ‘working against Trump,’ then guilty as charged.”)

Haley says she refused to go along with the idea. “Go tell the president what your differences are, and quit if you don’t like what he’s doing,” Haley described her response to CBS News anchor Norah O’Donnell.  “But to undermine a president is really a very dangerous thing.”

In an interview with NBC’s “Today” show, the former South Carolina governor said she told Trump about Kelly and Tillerson’s back-door approach.

In the same interview, Yahoo reports, Haley defended Trump’s requests for Ukraine to investigate his political rivals in exchange for military aid — the basis of the House Democrats’ ongoing impeachment inquiry.

While she refused to say whether she agreed with Trump that his July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was “perfect,” Haley echoed a White House talking point that there was no pressure put on Zelensky.

Research contact: @YahooNews

‘Who’s gonna pay for the wall?’

December 13, 2018

The answer to the question above? Apparently, not Mexico—which was what President Donald Trump repeatedly promised during the 2016 campaign. And probably not Congress either.

During a surreal meeting in the Oval Office on December 11, The New York Times reports, President Donald Trump engaged in an argument in front of reporters with two Democratic leaders, Representative Nancy Pelosi (12th District, California) and Senator Chuck Schumer (New York), over the his own threats to shut down the government unless he gets $5 billion to build a border wall.

During what the news outlet characterized as “an extraordinary public airing of hostilities that underscored a new, more confrontational dynamic in Washington,” the president vowed to block full funding for the government if Democrats refused to allocate money for the wall on the southwestern border, saying he was “proud to shut down the government for border security.”

He repeatedly told Pelosi that he “only need[ed] ten Democratic votes in the House” to pass the funding for the wall. In turn, she replied that he didn’t have the votes—and would not have them in the future.

According to the Times report, the two Democratic leaders took issue with the president’s position and his false assertions about the wall—which he claimed was already under construction—in front of a phalanx of news cameras, imploring him repeatedly to continue the tense conversation without reporters present.

However, the news outlet said, “Trump insisted on a conspicuous clash that undercut Republican congressional leaders and his own staff working to avoid a shutdown at all costs, or at least to ensure that Democrats would shoulder the blame for such a result.”

“If we don’t have border security, we’ll shut down the government — this country needs border security,” Mr. Trump declared as the diatribe unfolded, and Schumer reminded the president repeatedly that he had called several times for a shutdown, appearing to goad him into taking responsibility.

 “You want to know something?” an infuriated Trump  finally said. “I’ll tell you what: I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck.”

“I will take the mantle,” Mr. Trump went on. “I will be the one to shut it down — I’m not going to blame you for it.”

Ultimately, the discussion again raised doubts about whether Trump and the Congress could reach agreement by a December 21 deadline to keep much of the government open, appearing to harden diametrically opposed positions on the wall.

Research contact: @nytimes

Pence remains obfuscator-in-chief, saying on CBS talker, ‘I would’ speak to Mueller

September 11, 2018

Speaking on CBS-TV’s Face the Nation political talk show on September 9, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said he would sit down for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller, if asked.

“I would. I would be more than willing to continue to provide any and all support in that,” Pence said during one segment of the show. And we have outside counsel that will advise me accordingly.”

Mueller and his team are investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and are probing ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. On Sunday, Pence told Magaret Brennan during an exclusive interview at the White House that Mueller’s team hasn’t broached the topic of an interview.

“He has not” asked for an interview, Pence said. “Although we’ve provided any and all information, and we’ll continue to do that.”

Mueller has been haggling with President Donald Trump’s legal team over an interview—in-person and/or in writing.

Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Guiliani, said last week that the two sides remain at odds over the subject of the interrogation—specifically, whether prosecutors could ask questions about obstruction of justice—as well as the way in which it would be conducted.

Trump has confirmed that  “he’s open” to an interview—under the right conditions. What those conditions would be is unclear, as the president’s team seems to be “moving the goalposts,” depending on the ask from the Mueller probe.

And while Trump has publicly disparaged the Russia probe as a “witch hunt” meant to undermine him, Pence said Sunday the investigation isn’t a “focus” for him or the president.

“It’s just not been my focus, and it’s not the president’s focus,” Pence said, in his ongoing function as obfuscator-in-chief.

“I mean,” the vice president said, “the reason why we’re making the progress that we’re making all across this country, rebuilding our military, restoring America’s strength in the world, seeing the opportunity for peace emerge on the Korean Peninsula.”

As of June 10, President Trump’s approval rating was posted on the Gallup Poll as 40%; with disapproval up to 54%.

Research contact: cobrien@politico.com

64% of Americans support Roe v. Wade

July 13, 2018

As the U.S. Senate prepares to hold confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the public is strongly opposed to any attempts to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion legal nationwide. Currently, 64% of Americans believe the decision should stand, while 28% would like to see it overturned, based on findings of a poll released by Gallup on July 12.

The poll was conducted July 2-8, just before President Donald Trump announced Kavanaugh as his nominee to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Many Democratic senators quickly voiced their opposition to the conservative 53-year-old judge—whom, they say is pro-life and against indicting a sitting president. While nominees to the high court often do not openly share their personal views on issues, their past public statements are scrutinized.

Partisans’ opinions are sharply polarized, with 81% of Democrats, 70% of Independents and 41% of Republicans saying they do not want Roe v. Wade overturned. In contrast, 51% of Republicans, 22% of Independents and 13% of Democrats want it reversed.

While Democrats’ opinions have been consistent over time, Republicans’ views have been less so. For example, a majority of Republicans—albeit a slim majority, at 52%—said in 2006 that the case should not be overturned.

However, one Republican is holding firm, according to a report by CNN. Vice President Mike Pence  told the news outlet on July that he still wants to see the judgment overturned—but wouldn’t say whether Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh would be the guy to make it happen.

When asked in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash about wanting to outlaw abortion, Pence responded, “Well, I do.

“But,” he continued, “I haven’t been nominated to the Supreme Court.”

Pence denied that either he or President Donald Trump had asked Kavanaugh about his views on abortion. “What the American people ought to know is, as the president said today, this is not an issue that he discussed with Judge Kavanaugh, I didn’t discuss it with him either.”

Research contact: datainquiry@gallup.com