Vice President Mike Pence made a vigorous defense of the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak during Wednesday night’s vice presidential debate and sought to undermine the case that a Biden administration would have handled the pandemic better.
Pence pointed to the swine flu outbreak in the United States during the first year of President Barack Obama’s administration, saying millions of Americans would have died if the virus had been as deadly.
“It was 2009 the swine flu arrived in the United States,” Pence recounted.
“Thankfully it ended up not being as lethal as the coronavirus, but before the end of the year when Joe Biden was vice president of the United States, not seven and a half million people contracted the swine flu, 60 million Americans contracted the swine flu.”
“If the swine flu had been as lethal as the coronavirus in 2009 when Joe Biden was vice president, we would have lost 2 million American lives.”
— Team Trump (Text VOTE to 88022) (@TeamTrump) October 8, 2020
Pence then noted that Biden’s own chief of staff at the time, Ron Klain, said just last year it was nothing but “luck” that only approximately 12,000 Americans died.
“It is purely a fortuity that this isn’t one of the great mass casualty events in American history,” Klain said, according to Politico.
FLASHBACK: Biden pandemic advisor Ron Klain on Joe Biden’s handling of the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic:
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) October 8, 2020
“It had nothing to do with us doing anything right. It just had to do with luck. If anyone thinks that this can’t happen again, they don’t have to go back to 1918, they just have to go back to 2009, 2010 and imagine a virus with a different lethality, and you can just do the math on that,” Klain added.
Harris argued a Biden administration would handle the coronavirus better than President Donald Trump has, though Pence pointed out that Biden’s plan does not offer any significant difference from what the Trump administration is doing.
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