Mike Pence Just Wrapped Up a Tour of the Morning Talk Shows. It Went Poorly.

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During Sunday morning appearances on Fox News and NBC’s Meet the Press, Vice President Mike Pence evaded questions about President Donald Trump’s tweets on Saturday to “LIBERATE” states where conservative protesters defied local shelter-in-place orders. 

“What you see, I think, among millions of Americans who have been embracing those social-distancing measures and making the sacrifices, is they want their governors to find a way to responsibly and safely reopen their state economies,” Pence told Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday. 

After Wallace noted that demonstrators had been protesting the federal government’s very own guidelines, Pence told Wallace that “the American people know that no one in America wants to reopen this country more than President Donald Trump.”

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that most Americans, like most public health experts, are worried that the country will loosen social-distancing restrictions too quickly. (However, just 39 percent of Republicans polled were concerned about the country opening up too soon.)

Pence’s appearance came after a day after a protest near the state capitol in Austin, Texas, featured a slew of MAGA-hats, conspiracy theory mudslinging, and chants ranging from “Let us work!” to “Fire, Fauci.” That demonstration was one of several right-wing protests in places like Michigan and Maryland that echoed the culture-war battles of the tea party era. In a Saturday afternoon press briefing, Trump defended his tweets by saying that, in some cases, governors had “gotten carried away” with shelter-in-place orders.

Pence also noted on Fox News Sunday that the 150,000 COVID-19 tests conducted per day in the United States were “sufficient for any state in America” to begin lifting restrictions. He added that, to double efforts to 300,000 a day, it would require governors to “activate all of the laboratories in their states around the country that can do coronavirus testing.” The problem is that the United States has been doling out fewer tests per capita than several other developed countries.

Pence’s optimism encountered significant pushback from governors on both ends of the aisle on Sunday. “To try to push this off, to say that the governors have plenty of testing and they should just get to work on testing—somehow we aren’t doing our job—is just absolutely false,” Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told CNN. And Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam slammed the idea that states have enough testing capacity as “just delusional.” 

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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