VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: What I saw first-hand from that day in January in the Oval Office, when President Trump took the unprecedented step of suspending all travel from China, declaring a public health emergency, is that this president put the health of America first from day one.
But he also wanted to reassure the American people all along the way. There is that old saying from World War II in Great Britain, that “Keep calm, carry on,” and that was the presidential leadership that I saw.
But when you look at the fact that Joe Biden, Democrats and even the World Health Organization criticized the president’s decision to suspend all travel from China, it took place a week before that audio clip that you just played.
And when you see that it was in March, the other audio clip that is getting a lot of coverage is from March 19th, where the president spoke about his desire to create a tone to prevent panic.
It is important to remember the president made that comment four days after we shut down the entire American economy to put the health of America first.
And so, look, from the moment he tasked me to lead the White House Coronavirus Task Force, the president made it clear he wanted us to deploy the full resources of the federal government, a whole of America approach.
And the progress that we have made, I believe, has literally saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives. But all along the way, what the American people saw was a president who was projecting the kind of leadership, the kind of confidence in the American people and all of our healthcare experts and doctors and nurses that you would expect from a president in a challenging time like this.