Pence was doing again on Monday what he had done on March 9 and has done regularly since: leaving out a critical piece of information. This time, he failed to explain that it had been his own words that created the “misunderstanding” — instead laying the confusion at the feet of the media and average citizens.
Pence’s comments on the subject of testing, including the remarks he was asked about on Monday, have consistently painted a picture that is far rosier than the actual situation on the ground.
Unlike President Donald Trump, Pence has not been flat lying. Rather, he has misled by omission.
Playing cheerleader for Trump, whose leadership he has unfailingly complimented, Pence has hailed incremental progress while declining to explain to the public that there are also serious problems.
The ‘distributed’ tests
“With the deployment of the commercial labs, we literally — we literally are going to see a dramatic increase in the available — availability of testing, and that’s all a direct result of the President’s leadership,” he said.
But when he was asked by a reporter on Monday what had gone wrong after the “4 million” promise, Pence blamed the reporter and “a lot” of the public, not himself, for the “misunderstanding” — claiming he had never meant that 4 million tests could actually be completed quickly, since the “old” laboratory system was not then able to process so many.
If Pence had wanted to make clear on March 9 that he did not mean 4 million people could actually get tested fast, he could have said so. Instead, he conveniently omitted it.
Pence’s office did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment.
The testing website
An overly cheery picture
His latest comments
“But what the President brought about with this public-private partnership has brought us to the point where we’ve done 5.4 million tests to date. And, literally, you just heard that by next month it could — we could be doing as many as 2 million tests a week all across the country to give the American people confidence that we can reopen and get our economy moving again,” Pence said.