Avlon Cites Pence's Climate Skepticism Against Him on Coronavirus

 Avlon Cites Pence's Climate Skepticism Against Him on Coronavirus

On Friday’s New Day show, CNN’s John Avlon presented a “Reality Check” segment in which he listed a number of alleged reasons that Vice President Mike Pence’s past suggests that he will not be suitable for coordinating the federal government’s efforts against the coronavirus.

Avlon not only hinted that Vice President Pence’s history of praying is “superstition,” but, amongst his list, he even suggesting that being skeptical of climate alarmism was a sign that sometimes the vice president is “barely on speaking terms with science.”

At 7:44 a.m., co-host John Berman began setting up the segment: “Vice President Mike Pence is one of the three people we have been told is in charge of the coronavirus situation in the last few days.” With a confused facial expression, the CNN host added: “What exactly does his record on public health tell us?”

Avlon immediately suggested that Vice President would have difficulty keeping “superstition” out of his job:

So, hope for the best, prepare for the worst. That’s a motto for first responders. And preparing for a pandemic requires coordination, elevating science over superstition. And success depends a lot on credibility of the person communicating. Which is why some eyebrows raised when President Trump — posting a Pepto Bismol-colored tie — tapped his Veep, Mike Pence, to lead America’s response to the Coronavirus.

He further declared that Pence has sometimes been “barely on speaking terms with science” because of how he reacted to an HIV outbreak in Indiana. Avlon then linked that HIV epidemic to Pence, while he was in Congress, voting to cut funding for Planned Parenthood:

And here’s how he got that failing grade. So when Mike Pence was in Congress, he voted to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. Two years later, the only public clinic that did HIV testing in Scott County, Indiana, closed its doors. There was soon an HIV outbreak there made worse by addicts shooting drugs and sharing needles.

After recalling criticisms that Pence could have cut the infection rate of HIV if he had not delayed the distribution of clean needles to intravenous drug abusers, he then bizarrely pivoted to the global warming issue: “Pence’s record of listening to scientific experts hasn’t gotten much better,” he scolded.

Then came a clip of Vice President Pence debating the issue of climate change with CNN host Jake Tapper from State of the Union in which Pence started alluding to scientists who are skeptical of climate alarmism. Avlon commented: “That wrestling match between science and partisan talking points doesn’t bode well for Pence’s new responsibility.”

He went on to hit the Vice President for his history of supporting gay conversion therapy, of arguing that condoms are not effective enough at preventing STDs, and of disputing the health consequences of smoking.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, February 28, New Day show on CNN:

JOHN BERMAN: Vice President Mike Pence is one of the three people we have been told is in charge of the Coronavirus situation in the last few days. What exactly does his record on public health tell us? John Avlon here with a “Reality Check.” John?

JOHN AVLON: Hey, guys. So, hope for the best, prepare for the worst. That’s a motto for first responders. And preparing for a pandemic requires coordination, elevating science over superstition. And success depends a lot on credibility of the person communicating. Which is why some eyebrows raised when President Trump — posting a Pepto Bismol-colored tie — tapped his Veep, Mike Pence, to lead America’s response to the Coronavirus.

Now, Mike Pence’s big problem is that he doesn’t have a stellar record when it comes to public health crises, and, at times, he’s barely been on speaking terms with science. For example, his reaction to an HIV outbreak in Indiana was described as a “textbook case of how not to do it” by an epidemiologist from Yale.

And here’s how he got that failing grade. So when Mike Pence was in Congress, he voted to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. Two years later, the only public clinic that did HIV testing in Scott County, Indiana, closed its doors. There was soon an HIV outbreak there made worse by addicts shooting drugs and sharing needles.

So CDC recommended distributing clean needles to stem the tide. As governor, Pence disagreed, and, as the problem escalated, he said he’d pray on it. Now, there were 81 confirmed HIV cases by the time Pence finally relented and allowed a 30-day needle exchange. Ultimately, 215 people in Scott County were infected with HIV — the worst outbreak in the state’s history. Yale researchers found that that number could have been cut by about 75 percent if the state acted sooner.

Pence’s record of listening to scientific experts hasn’t gotten much better.

[began pre-recorded clip from CNN’s State of the Union show]

JAKE TAPPER: Do you think it’s a threat — manmade climate emergency — is a threat?

VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: I think the answer to that is going to be based upon the science.

TAPPER: Well, the science says yes. I’m asking you what you think.

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: There’s many in the science that —

TAPPER: The science community in your own administration at NOAA — at the DNI — they all say it’s a threat, but you won’t, for some reason.

AVLON: That wrestling match between science and partisan talking points doesn’t bode well for Pence’s new responsibility.

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