Democrats freak out over Mike Pence's role coordinating coronavirus efforts
For people who are neither leftists nor caught in the grip of Trump Derangement Syndrome, Vice President Mike Pence is an intelligent, principled, competent man. When President Trump announced on Wednesday that he was putting Pence in charge of coordinating the federal government's response to the coronavirus, it seemed like an eminently sensible decision. For Democrats, though, Pence is the man who caused an HIV outbreak in Indiana. This is a lie.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a woman so desperate to drive Trump from the White House that she seemed unconcerned that Mike Pence would become president, summed up the Democrats' concerns by tweeting that Pence does not "believe" in science.
Mike Pence literally does not believe in science.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 27, 2020
It is utterly irresponsible to put him in charge of US coronavirus response as the world sits on the cusp of a pandemic.
This decision could cost people their lives. Pence’s past decisions already have. https://t.co/NhMPOusOWm
Pence probably doesn't believe in fairies, either, but his history proves that he is receptive to the scientific process and to scientific data. So why does Ocasio-Cortez make this silly statement? The giveaway is her claim that Pence's "past decisions" have already "cost people their lives." She's referring to events in Indiana in 2015.
Here's the story the New York Times told more than a year and a half after the events occurred: beginning in November 2014, five HIV drug–users in Scott County, Indiana, tested positive for HIV. By the middle of January, eight more tested positive. The problem was shared needle use, so there was a movement to override Indiana's law forbidding distributing clean needles to junkies.
People concerned about the junkies' dangerous habits put pressure on Pence to declare an emergency and distribute the needles. Keep in mind that at this point, only 0.0002% of Indiana's population was affected.
Pence was resistant as a matter of principle because he was concerned that handing out needles encouraged drug abuse and other dangerous behaviors. This was not unreasonable. In San Francisco, for example, free needles incentivize street drug use and place city residents at high risk of infectious needle sticks.
Within a matter of weeks, however, after having spoken with medical experts and law enforcement, Pence declared a public health emergency and authorized needle exchanges. The Times reported that the entire cycle saw a total of 181 people get HIV — 90 before the needle exchanges and 91 after.
According to NPR, which is one of many MSM outlets that resurrected the story, the Yale School of Public Health produced a study blaming Pence for 50% of those infections. If you look at the Yale study, though, you see that this is a cheat. The critical HIV outbreak that involved then-governor Pence began at the end of 2014. It became a concern by the end of January 2015, and Pence acted in March. The Yale study, though, says Pence was at fault for failing to authorize needle exchanges (which are illegal under Indiana law) in 2010–2011.
Pence, therefore, is being blamed not for his approach to a single outbreak, at which time he considered the scientific and social data and then acted accordingly. He's being blamed for a general policy position (a principled opposition to needle exchanges) that the left doesn't like. Leftists think America will be safer and healthier if it looks like San Francisco:
Still, to the leftists, Pence is the newest version of Jean Harlow's Christian Scientist mother, who prayed over Harlow as she died in agony from uremic poisoning. If you can watch the video below without gagging, you'll see that, within minutes of Nancy Pelosi saying she wouldn't do name-calling, she immediately attacked the Trump administration and said that Pence is a problem, not just because of the short-lived HIV outbreak in Indiana, but also to challenge him for being pro-life:
.@SpeakerPelosi: "I spoke with the Vice President this morning, made some of these concerns known to him. We have always had a very candid relationship and I expressed to him the concern that I had of his being in this position." #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/9s22jcUw7I— CSPAN (@cspan) February 27, 2020
These are not principled people. These are political hacks who will never let a crisis go to waste.