Mar 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pence's presidential moment

Vice President Pence bumps with Washington state Governor Jay Inslee during a press conference March 5 near Tacoma. Photo: Karen Ducey/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence, often caricatured as the White House Yes Man, is doing many of the things critics wish President Trump would do.

The big picture: He's a daily, consistent presence on the airwaves. He provides useful info rather than random digressions. He leans on health and medical experts — both at public events and behind the scenes when he's chairing the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Pence, 60, a likely contender for the Republican nomination in 2024, has become one of the most praised administration officials during the virus crisis:

  • "I actually think he’s done a reasonably good job," popular tech author Scott Galloway, no fan of Trump, said on his Pivot podcast with Kara Swisher.
  • Politico media columnist Jack Shafer wrote after Pence's first virus press conferences: He "acted less like the 'coronavirus czar' and more like a good old-fashioned White House press secretary. He was calm. He was direct. He was polite in face of shouted, competing questions."

Part of Pence's persona goes back to his days as host of a syndicated talk radio show in Indiana — his job before he became a congressman, House Republican Conference chair and Indiana governor.

  • Marc Short, Pence's chief of staff, said the vice president "has an understanding of what people are looking for"— facts that are "straightforward, not alarmist."
  • "There's a lot misinformation and probably some hysteria in the news," Short added. "He's very consistent in saying that all the health experts tell us the risk of severe illness is small."

As first reported by Jonathan Swan, Pence yesterday sent the White House staff an email recommending "social distancing" and to "avoid physical contact."

  • It was the first staff-wide email Pence has sent across the complex during his time as vice president — and the latest sign the White House is shifting its posture against the pandemic.

The bottom line: Pence is still deferential to Trump — but that's what he signed up for.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 6,789,313 — Total deaths: 396,388 — Total recoveries — 2,784,210Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 1,906,060 — Total deaths: 109,305 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Education: Students and teachers flunked remote learning.
  4. Public health: Fauci: "Very concerned" about spread of coronavirus amid George Floyd protests — Cities offer free coronavirus testing for protesters.
  5. Tech: The pandemic is accelerating next-generation disease diagnostics — Robotics looks to copy the software-as-a-service model as use of robots accelerates.
  6. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.

George Floyd updates

A protester holds a placard reading "Covid kills People, Racism kills Communities" as they attend a demonstration in Manchester, northern England, on June 6, to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. Photo: Paul Ellis/Contributor.

Thousands are gathering for a day of protests in Washington, D.C., almost two weeks after George Floyd's killing. Protesters in Australia and Europe staged anti-racism demonstrations on Saturday as well.

What's happening: A memorial service for Floyd is taking place in Raeford, North Carolina — near where he was born. Gov. Roy Cooper ordered all flags to fly at half-staff to honor Floyd until sunset.

Buffalo police officers arrested after shoving 75-year-old protester

Photo: Mike Desmond/WBFO via AP

Two Buffalo police officers were charged with assault on Saturday after a video emerged of them shoving a 75-year-old protester while clearing a demonstration in the wake of George Floyd's killing, AP reports, citing prosecutors.

The state of play: Both officers pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault, and were released without bail. After the law enforcement officers were initially suspended without pay on Friday, all 57 officers on the Buffalo Police Department's Emergency Response Team resigned in a show of support for their fellow officers' suspensions.