Pence tells 'Ingraham Angle' Trump will move to reopen the economy 'at a responsible moment'April 15, 2020
By Charles Creitz, Victor Garcia | Fox News
Vice President Mike Pence told "The Ingraham Angle" in an exclusive interview Tuesday that President Trump will recommend loosening coronavirus-induced restrictions on the U.S. economy "at a responsible moment."
"President Trump's made it very clear that he wants to reopen the American economy, but we want to do it at a time that is responsible, [and] can be safe for the American people," Pence said. "And we're going to be producing new guidance for states across the country to to know when that will be possible."
THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK, STATE-BY-STATE
Pence spoke to Ingraham hours after White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Associated Press that the Trump administration's May 1 target to loosen the federal coronavirus guidelines was "a bit overly optimistic."
Fauci told the AP that the U.S. must have a widespread testing system "in place that is efficient and that we can rely on, and we’re not there yet."
Pence echoed Fauci, telling host Laura Ingraham that "surveillance testing" would be a "big part" of the move to open up the country.
When Ingraham asked if the goal, stated by some health care officials, of performing six or seven million tests per week -- or even per day -- before normal operations can resume was realistic, the vice president answered: "Well, that'll be a decision for the president of the United States to make."
Ingraham also pressed Pence on whether there was any "dispute" between Fauci's "more pessimistic" view of the hoped-for May 1 reopening of the economy and the president's perspective.
"Well, let me let me say that the timing will all be determined by the president when we're at a responsible moment where we are on track to put the coronavirus in the past, "Pence said.
Pence also discussed the effect of the coronavirus shutdowns on the mental health of millions of Americans after Ingraham mentioned "social isolation, depression, potential drug abuse, spousal abuse and suicidal thoughts" as potential fallout from the restrictions.
"President Trump has said this [reopening the U.S.] is clearly going to be the biggest decision of his life," Pence said. "He understands that it’s not just a matter of looking at health data [but] it’s a matter of looking at what’s in the interest of our economy [and] what’s in the interest, as you rightly apprehend, the emotional and psychological impact on Americans."
The vice president also told Ingraham the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is very close to approving a viable antibody test that will help determine an individual's immunity to the virus.
"We expect the FDA to approve a new antibody test in a matter of days," Pence said. "And if approved, [we] could literally create more than 20 million new tests a month ... that’ll be a test that will tell you whether you have had the coronavirus in the past and whether you might in fact be immune to it going forward."
Pence also called on Congress to approve an additional $250 billion for the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program, a fund to help small businesses that have been affected by state restrictions meant to combat the spread of the virus. Last week, Senate Democrats blocked an attempt by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to pass such a measure by unanimous consent.
"Remember, Congress can act by what’s called unanimous consent," Pence said, " ... Congress can act by a voice vote, and we’re encouraging them to do that even without having to come back to Washington, D.C."