Twitter trolls Pence after he's picked to lead coronavirus response: 'He wipes his nose with hands'
As soon as Trump announced his name to battle any eventuality from the virus, many took to social media to slam his record regarding HIV outbreak when he was governor of Indiana
Shortly after President Donald Trump appointed Vice President Mike Pence to spearhead the response against the growing threat of coronavirus in the US, he was trolled on social media over his past record in handling outbreak of HIV when he was governor of Indiana ... and for wiping his nose with his hands before shaking the hands of experts.
On Wednesday, February 26, Trump emphasized that the US was “very, very ready” for any eventuality of the coronavirus threat brought before announcing that Pence will be working with CDC, NIH and other government agencies to coordinate the response.
“As a former governor from the state where the first MERS case emerged in 2014,” Pence said. “I know full well the importance of presidential leadership, the importance of administration leadership, and the vital role of partnerships of state and local governments, and health authorities in responding to potential threats and dangerous infectious diseases.”
Soon after the press conference, Bernie Sanders took to Twitter to call the VP out, trolling him for how poorly he handled the outbreak of HIV in his state when he was the governor of Indiana in 2015. "Trump's plan for the coronavirus so far: Cut winter heating assistance for the poor - Have VP Pence, who wanted to 'pray away' HIV epidemic, oversee the response -Let ex-pharma lobbyist Alex Azar refuse to guarantee affordable vaccines to all Disgusting," Sanders tweeted.
He was soon followed by a host of social media users who ripped Pence apart for the part he played in hundreds of people getting infected by HIV under his watch.
"Mike Pence, who was Indiana’s governor during the worst HIV outbreak in the state’s history, is now in charge of the coronavirus response. Welp, we had a good run y’all," sports journalist Jemele Hill tweeted, while LGBTQ activist Charlotte Clymer wrote, "Let me be absolutely clear, and I am not kidding with this: if the choice to lead the government's efforts in combating the coronavirus were between a particularly clever chimpanzee and Mike Pence, I would take my chances with the monkey."
Brian Tyler Cohen, an actor and political host, on the other hand, slammed Pence in a series of tweets, such as "Has Mike Pence suggested yet that it was just a choice to get infected with coronavirus?" and "A matter of hours before Mike Pence announces coronversion therapy to cure those affected in the United States."
One eagle-eyed user edited the press conference and uploaded a clip where Pence is seen wiping his nose with his hand. "Question. Does Pence do coke? Is the whole WH druggies? Does he have a cold? Does he have coronavirus? Why is he wiping his nose with his hand?" the user wrote. Another user hilariously reacted to the clip, writing, "Coronavirus czar [email protected] Pence wiping his nose with his hand before shaking hands with top medical professionals is all you need to know."
A third reaction read: "The guy in charge of #coronavirususa wipes his f**king nose with his hand. We’re all gonna die."
After cutting funding for Planned Parenthood as a member of Congress in 2011, and causing the only HIV-testing center in Scott County, Indiana, to close, he refused to declare a state of emergency in 2015 at least till a couple of months had passed after the outbreak.
Next, he didn’t agree with federal health experts that distributing clean needles could curb the spread of HIV. He agreed to a 30-day needle exchange program only after 75 people were confirmed to be HIV-positive in his state. As cases of spiked, he responded by saying, "I'm going to go home and pray on it."
In a 2018 study conducted by researchers at Yale University, it was found that the epidemic could have been prevented if Pence and state officials had taken immediate action. “Our findings suggest that with earlier action the actual number of infections recorded in Scott County — 215 — might have been brought down to fewer than 56, if the state had acted in 2013, or to fewer than 10 infections, if they had responded to the [hepatitis C] outbreak in 2010-2011,” the paper’s senior author, Forrest W. Crawford, said in a statement at the time. "Instead they cut funding for the last HIV testing provider in the county.”