CORONAVIRUS

Ahead of VP Pence's Iowa visit, Joe Biden's campaign calls out 'consequential failure' of Trump coronavirus response

Vice President Mike Pence is met by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Nebraska Gov. Peter Ricketts as he arrives March 19, 2019
Vice President Mike Pence is met by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Nebraska Gov. Peter Ricketts as he arrives March 19, 2019, to survey Missouri River flood damage. Pence, the head of the White House coronavirus task force, will be in Iowa today to talk with food and agriculture leaders about keeping the nation’s food supply secure and with faith leaders about reopening houses of worship. (Photo via Twitter)

Vice President Mike Pence owes Iowans more than a photo-op when he visits Des Moines today, according to Joe Biden’s campaign.

“Iowans are seeing up close the most consequential failure of government in modern American history,” said Kate Bedingfeld, spokeswoman for the former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

“With nearly 300,000 Iowans filing for unemployment, rural hospitals on life support, Latino communities disproportionately suffering and workers on the job without sufficient protection, Mike Pence owes Iowans more than a photo-op — he owes them answers,” she said.

Pence, head of the White House coronavirus task force, is scheduled to meet with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, all Republicans, as well as with faith, farm and food production leaders.

Pence will talk to faith leaders about how they are using federal and state guidelines to open their houses of worship in a safe and responsible manner.

Later, he will go to Hy-Vee’s headquarters in West Des Moines for a roundtable discussion with agriculture and food supply leaders to discuss steps being taken to ensure the food supply remains secure.

Pence has called Iowa a “success story” in its response to the COVID-19, but Bedingfeld said the Trump administration failed to protect Iowa families from the virus that has claimed the lives of 231 Iowans.

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“From devastating losses across the state, at meatpacking plants to rural communities, one thing is clear — it’s Iowans and the American people who are paying the price for the Trump administration’s denials and delays in response to this pandemic,” she said.

“Instead of listening to our own intelligence agencies and public health experts, Donald Trump was fed dangerous propaganda from the Chinese Communist Party — and he bought it,” she said. “Iowans deserve better — they deserve Joe Biden.”

For his part, Grassley said he welcomes the discussion with Pence.

“There’s much work to be done, and the pandemic is disrupting all of our communities,” Grassley said. “It’s important to hear directly from those who help feed the nation and the world.”

Ernst also is looking forward to the discussion of how Iowa is working to protect the health and safety of Iowa’s families and communities while reopening the state’s economy.

“We continue to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to tackling this pandemic,” she said. “Together, we will get through this.”

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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