Trump Addresses Nation Over Coronavirus
"So no, I'm not relieved that Trump has him leading the coronavirus effort".
But health experts have sounded the alarm on Pence's approach to public health for years before he was picked to oversee the response to a virus which experts believe could sicken the majority of the world's population. "That was shocking to me", the president said.
Democrats have blasted the Trump administration for previous budget cuts in programmes created to provide coordination and planning for a potential pandemic outbreak. The decision to delay the training was made after Seoul declared its highest "severe" alert level over the virus, Combined Forces Command said, adding the postponement was "until further notice". She pointed out he slashed the public health budget and closed a clinic that did HIV testing at the time.
There is a long list of seats that have been not been permanently filled or even had someone nominated. The outbreak was blamed on opioid addiction and needle sharing and health experts called for a needle exchange.
Trump plans to hold a news conference Wednesday evening to talk about what the U.S.is doing to prepare for the virus. Health secretary Alex Azar had previously led the effort, and insisted in a congressional hearing earlier Wednesday that appointing another leader was unnecessary. The agency also does not have an inspector general nominee.
On Tuesday, his administration called for a $2.5bn to fund the development of a vaccine, gather protective equipment, support for state and local programmes and to set up preparedness.
Newsweek has contacted the White House for a response to the criticisms of Pence's appointment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday morning on Capitol Hill that she spoke with the vice president and expressed her concerns of him holding the position. Two years ago he fired the entire pandemic response team established by President Obama and has yet to replace them.
The vice president's first move appeared to be aimed at preventing the kind of contradictory statements from White House officials and top government health officials that have plagued the administration's response.
What Trump did not do, as I half expected, was announce an immediate closure of all USA borders, which he advocated for during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Mr Trump added that China's Xi Jinping was "working very, very hard" to contain the spread of the virus.
At around noon on Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had confirmed 60 coronavirus cases in the United States, and the majority came from passengers evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was held off the coast of Japan for weeks.
"And they say to themselves, if we ever have a president like this, and there's always a possibility, you know, it's an election, who knows what happens", he continued. "There needs to be strong White House leadership". The CDC has advised Americans to not visit China and South Korea, and on Wednesday stepped up travel warnings for Iran, Italy and Mongolia. Fifteen cases of COVID-19 have been detected among US citizens who were on the stricken cruise ship as well as people who were evacuated from China, according to health officials.