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Too Little Too Late: Former Obama Official Speaks Out On Pence And Masks

Alaina Beverly, former national deputy director for African-American outreach for the Obama campaign, shared some thoughts about Mike Pence finally recommending masks.
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So Mike Pence has flip-flopped on the mask issue. Alaina Beverly, former national deputy director for African-American outreach for the Obama campaign, shared some thoughts on MSNBC. Ahem.

YASMIN VOSSOUGHIAN, MSNBC HOST: Talk me through this, give me your reaction to the vice president there making an about-face, asking folks to wear masks.

BEVERLY: Well, it's reassuring to know that the vice-president is finally actually following his public health professionals. For me it is a lot too late because it only took, you know, 126,000 individuals to be infected with the virus for him to make that about-face. And it only required the virus to be plaguing Republican states for him to do that about-face. We have no coordinated national response. When it comes to both protective equipment, preventive equipment, PPE, when it comes to tracking and tracing this virus, testing and tracing for those who are infected, and we know it is still disproportionately affecting communities of color. So it is certainly too late. It is not surprising to me that the majority of voters do not have faith or trust in this administration. Something like 26% of voters, according to the most recent New York Times poll, trust President Trump and his administration to tell the truth when it comes to this virus. So I think we're going to see reelection or election day hinge upon this administration's treatment of COVID but also the other major social upheavals that our communities are facing right now. Everything including the fight for equal justice as well as the economy. And we know who is deemed essential and we know who is on the front lines of that fight. So it is reassuring that the vice-president has finally gotten the message that his public health officials are sending. But it's too late, frankly, for way too many people.

VOSSOUGHIAN: Do you foresee the President and the Vice President now leading by example and wearing a mask because of what he said today?

BEVERLY: No. Maybe Vice President Pence will. But I do not see President Trump wearing his mask. He is not going to concede on this issue because he has said repeatedly that he sees individuals' decisions not to wear a mask as being supportive of him and the decisions of others to wear a mask as flouting his leadership. And as an affront to his leadership. He's not going to about-face. And I don't mind.

VOSSOUGHIAN: The Vice President actually visited this Freedom Rally, it included a choir performance at the first baptist church in texas. The choir was more than a hundred people, they all performed without masks at the event that was attended by nearly 2,200 people of all ages, as you see there, folks that are potentially vulnerable to COVID more than others. Organizers of the event are saying that the venue capacity for the indoor event was close to 3,000 attendees. And this as the state is seeing a record surge, as we've been talking about, in coronavirus case numbers and hospitalizations. It is astounding to see this event take place the way that it is, no social distancing amongst these choir members. Watching the numbers go up and up in the State of Texas. And then the Vice President turning around and asking folks to wear masks just a couple of hours later.

BEVERLY: That's right, it is a complete abdication of responsibility. These events that they're hosting, they're putting people's lives in jeopardy. In Tulsa just last week, the campaign for Donald Trump pulled up tape that would help people social distance. They are putting people in harm's way. Now, it isn't just communities of color now. Now he's putting his own base in jeopardy. So it's remarkable. It is tragic. And I don't think it's going to stop.

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