Remarks by Vice President Pence and Governor Justice of West Virginia in a COVID-19 Briefing | White Sulphur Springs, WV

12:05 P.M. EDT

GOVERNOR JUSTICE:  Nicely, to start with, everybody right here is aware of what an honor it’s to have our Vice President right here with us and have his nice workforce and our senator and our nice congressmen and all of my workforce as effectively.

However everyone knows, in West Virginia, we’ve labored actually exhausting and we’ve labored proactively as we probably can by way of this horrible pandemic.

And from the standpoint of the medical element of it, from the standpoint of the financial element of it, it’s — everyone knows it’s been a wrestle.  However completely, we might have by no means, ever, ever gotten out of the gate if it hadn’t been for this man proper right here, his workforce, and all of the work that he places in.  It’s unbelievable.

I’ve obtained to hear each Monday to him and all people beneath the solar and see what all of the work that they’re — they’ve been doing, however it’s solely a fraction.  What he’s performed is outstanding — outstanding past perception — our President as effectively.  And simply all their workforce.  How they’ve pivoted and the way they’ve adjusted to one thing that got here like a wave past perception is simply unimaginable.  That’s all there’s to it.  And what all y’all have performed is simply the identical.

So we, in West Virginia, we’ve pitched good numbers.  We’ve misplaced 157, and now I hear we might have misplaced three extra.  However from the standpoint of the numbers, we hate that we’ve misplaced 160, perhaps 157.  They’re nice West Virginians.  And we’re simply going to maintain on attempting to maintain our numbers as little as we will.  However we’re not going to let these individuals develop into a statistic both.  You understand, they’re households and their names.  And it’s actually vital.

And so we might have been — I imply, I can’t fathom what this battle would have been if we hadn’t had our President and our Vice President and all of his nice individuals with us.  And what they’ve performed is unbelievable.

So thanks a lot for coming at present.  And thanks a lot for all you’ve already performed.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Nicely, thanks.  Thanks, Governor Justice.  Thanks for a — the briefing that members of our White Home Coronavirus Activity Power acquired at present in West Virginia.  However extra importantly, thanks on your management throughout this terribly difficult time for the individuals of this state and the individuals of this nation.

The President wished me to be right here with a really, quite simple message to you, to the those that symbolize West Virginia in Washington, D.C., and most particularly to the individuals of West Virginia.  And that’s that we’re with you.  We’re going to stick with you till the day comes that we will put this coronavirus previously as soon as and for all.

I need to commend not solely you, Governor Justice, but in addition your workforce.  It’s an honor to be right here with Dr. Clay Marsh and likewise with Common Hoyer and to listen to the element of the response that you simply’ve been in a position to marshal to guard the well being and wellbeing of the individuals of this state.

I need to be a part of you in saying that whereas West Virginia’s report has actually been extraordinary, given most of the vulnerabilities that the individuals of West Virginia have confronted with regard to being an older inhabitants for states across the nation, but in addition having — having many situations, what medical doctors name comorbidities.  However, we nonetheless grieve the lack of greater than 150 West Virginians.  And on behalf of our process pressure and our administration, I need to categorical my deepest sympathies to all of the households which have misplaced family members.

However I really do imagine, Governor, that due to your management and due to this workforce that you simply’ve assembled and due to the cooperation of the individuals of West Virginia, that you simply’ve saved lives on this state.  And our dedication is to proceed to companion with you in that trigger.

Due to the cooperation of the individuals of West Virginia who’ve taken the steering out of your administration and from well being officers on this state, due to the best way that you simply’ve examined aggressively, it’s — it’s a testomony to your efforts and to President Trump’s efforts in reinventing testing on this nation.  We’ve now performed greater than 70 million assessments throughout the nation.  But it surely’s outstanding to suppose right here in West Virginia, you’ve examined greater than 350,000 residents, roughly 20 % of this state, which has given well being officers and the individuals of this state the knowledge essential to proceed to guard the weak.

I additionally need to decide to you that as we — as we’ve directed tons of of 1000’s of PPE provides, we’ll proceed to do this, however I additionally need to inform you how impressed we’re on the innovation that you simply’ve demonstrated right here, actually working together with your Nationwide Guard and with companies in West Virginia to fabricate masks and assortment swabs and different tools so important to our healthcare employees.

And at last, I additionally need to say how grateful we’re to your management and representatives within the Home and the Senate.  Senator Shelley Moore Capito was within the forefront of early efforts to forge bipartisan settlement round restoration and reduction efforts.

Senator, I need to thanks personally, for the — the best way you’ve actually helped deliver individuals collectively in a — in a really divided time within the lifetime of our nation, politically.  You had been one of many voices that you simply, in a single invoice after one other, you helped deliver individuals collectively within the Senate.  And we proceed to be hopeful that as we focus on and debate a further restoration invoice, that we’ll — we’ll have the ability to pace much more reduction to households on this state.

I additionally need to thank Congresswoman Miller and Congressman Mooney for — on your efforts and actually placing the well being of the individuals of this state first.

However — however, finally, as a pair members of our workforce will replicate momentarily, I simply need to guarantee you, Governor, and the individuals of West Virginia that we’re going to stick with you.  And we’re going to stick with you to assist your extraordinary healthcare employees which have performed an unimaginable job by way of the course of this pandemic.  However we’re additionally going to ensure that West Virginia has the most effective steering and the most effective assets to guard the weak.

Seema Verma heads up the Middle for Medicaid and Medicare Providers, and we’re inspired by the truth that nursing houses all throughout West Virginia, at your path, have — have instituted measures which have saved lives.  However we’re going to work carefully with you to ensure that we proceed to guard those who we all know are most weak to severe outcomes of the coronavirus.

And I — together with your permission, Governor, I’m going to acknowledge Seema Verma to talk a bit of bit about — about efforts that West Virginia has performed and that we wish — we wish nursing houses across the nation to proceed to do as we focus our efforts.

However once more, I simply need to say to you, Governor Justice, we’re actually grateful for the — for the management that you simply’ve proven, your workforce has proven, your delegation to Washington, D.C. has proven, however we’re most likely most grateful for the best way that it’s clear that the individuals of West Virginia have put the well being of your neighbors and the well being of these most weak first.

And our pledge to each one in every of you is we’ll proceed to ensure your governor, your healthcare employees, and your communities have the assets you needn’t simply to guard the weak and save lives, however to proceed to open up — to open up your financial system.  West Virginia has been going again to work.  And really quickly, West Virginia will probably be going again to highschool.  And we’re completely decided to companion with you till we deliver West Virginia all the best way again — again to work, again to highschool, and are available to that day that we will — we will put the coronavirus previously.

So once more, thanks, Governor.  Thanks on your nice management.  And with that, I’ll flip it over to Seema Verma for some ideas on nursing houses.

ADMINISTRATOR VERMA:  Thanks.  And, Governor, I do know you’re used to listening to me speak about nursing houses, however I’m going to speak a bit of bit, only for a second, in regards to the faculties as effectively, as a result of after I’m not the Administrator, I’m a mother.  I’ve obtained two youngsters, and one in school and one in highschool.  And as a mother and that my husband has underlying well being situations, so, , the opening of faculties is simply so essential.  And I simply actually admire the whole lot that you simply’re doing to open up the faculties.  I feel meaning quite a bit for the children and the dad and mom and retaining the children protected and the academics protected within the communities.  But it surely’s simply not the identical having your youngsters in — on an internet expertise versus being within the classroom.  So I simply need to commend you for the whole lot you’re doing for the faculties.

However because the Vice President mentioned, nursing houses have been a essential space that we’ve been targeted on from day one.  The President and the Vice President, , mentioned that we’ve all the time recognized that nursing houses are probably the most weak.  And so, very early on, we requested nursing houses to not have guests in, and that’s clearly been tough for the nursing dwelling residents and their households.  But it surely actually, sort of, speaks to our dedication to retaining these nursing dwelling residents protected.

So we’ve put out pointers to all of the nursing houses, a sequence of these.  We’ve stood up a brand new reporting system.  We’ve elevated fines and penalties, and I do know your state has performed an unimaginable job of surveying all of the nursing houses, which is nice, as a result of that provides us a — a chance to evaluate how the nursing houses are doing.  And we’ve additionally put out about $10 billion for funds on to the nursing houses to assist their efforts.

I used to be very inspired speaking to Dr. Marsh.  I feel a number of the partnerships and the work that you simply’re doing round strike groups and really working with each nursing dwelling straight.  And also you’ve additionally been one of many first states to do the testing within the nursing houses, which is completely essential.  So that you’ve been a mannequin for lots of different states, and we hope to share a few of your finest practices, particularly round these strike groups, with the remainder of the nation.  So thanks on your efforts.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Nice.  Secretary Perdue?

SECRETARY PERDUE:  Mr. Vice President, Governor, I feel it’s simply phenomenal what you’ve performed right here.  And right here, I noticed the outcomes.  We knew the info, however I didn’t know all of the issues that had gone in.  Management does matter.  And clearly, we’ve talked in regards to the compliance nature of West Virginians.  They adopted your lead and in complying with the principles; it actually made a distinction that method.

And so I can inform you there are a variety of states on this nation — whereas we mourn the demise of virtually 160 individuals, there are a variety of states that will simply like to have these sort of numbers.  And what you’ve performed, as Seema mentioned in regards to the faculties and your — your colour coding of what they’ll do, and the gradation of retaining them protected whereas they’re returning to that classroom expertise is vital.

So I used to be very impressed together with your — your tag right here on the — what the Nationwide Guard had performed on innovation within the financial system, in addition to the factors that Dr. Marsh made about — Vice President, I mentioned that is Debbie Birx’s mannequin on steroids.  They’re doing precisely what they did right here.  She can be extraordinarily — she’d be up — chanting up right here, cheering about what you all have performed inside the state as a result of that’s what she’s been advocating for therefore lengthy for everybody to do.

However I feel it’s a testomony to not solely your management, however to the individuals of West Virginia to observe that and to essentially have these sort of outcomes.  They’re actually blessed in that regard.

I’m pleased to be right here and listen to the small print.  We’ve seen the numbers, however seeing the insurance policies and management behind it actually conjures up me.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thanks, Mr. Secretary.  Thanks, Seema.  And Dr. Birx will really be right here, as , assembly together with your workforce on August the 19th.  And — however we’re — we’re very, very grateful for the efforts the individuals of West Virginia have taken and your management.

I additionally need to commend you.  As I flip it over to your senator and members of your delegation, I need to commend you for the best way West Virginia’s financial system stayed open in so some ways and important companies, however already recovered 47,000 jobs and put individuals again to work for the reason that outset of this pandemic.

I used to be knowledgeable on the best way right here that 83 % of West Virginia small companies are open at present.  That’s an illustration of the resilience and the character of the individuals of this nice state.

And as I mentioned earlier than, over the past three months, on the peak of the pandemic, we misplaced 22 million jobs all throughout America, right here in West Virginia and all throughout this nation.  Due to the inspiration that we’ve poured and due to the resilience of our individuals, we’ve really added 9 million jobs again.  And so — however to open up America once more, as Seema was saying, President Trump and I imagine very strongly we’ve obtained to open up our faculties.

And, Governor, I need to thanks for the considerate and cautious method and steering that you’ve got given to communities about how we will safely reopen faculties.  And I need to pledge that we’re going to proceed to work with Senator Shelley Moore Capito and the members of Congress to be sure to have the assets to have the ability to safely reopen these faculties.  However we actually do imagine it’s finest for our children and it’s finest for youngsters with particular wants, studying disabilities, vitamin applications which might be accessible.

President Trump and I imagine, as you do, Governor Justice, that we have to get our children again to highschool, and again to highschool this fall.  And I need to thanks on your management in that regard.


SENATOR CAPITO:  Nicely, thanks, Mr. Vice President.  And it’s all the time nice to have you ever in West Virginia.  And I — nice to have the workforce right here and to have the ability to bend their ears on sure particular areas that I’m notably obsessed with.  The Governor and his workforce — Dr. Marsh, Common Hoyer — and lots of others have performed an incredible job for our state, for West Virginians to have the ability to determine, , methods to act and what to do and methods to finest defend.

And as soon as we noticed our numbers develop into manageable — I imply, we don’t need to lose anyone, however manageable — , success breeds success.  And we discovered that what we had been doing was actually starting to work.

And so — however there’s nonetheless a variety of work to do.  I feel that’s why we’re all right here.  And definitely my half, as you and I mentioned — and the Governor and I focus on fairly incessantly — is to ensure that he has the assets to reopen the faculties; that our cities and counties have the assets to recuperate a few of their tax revenues; that we’ve the testing; that we’ve the vaccine improvement — as a result of if we get wholesome, the financial system can then preserve going and going and going, together with extra PPP and different issues.

So I pledge to you all right here at present that I’m going to proceed working within the method wherein you described to get to a decision in order that we may give all people right here on this room the reassurance that you’ve got the assets and the arrogance.  I do know the President could be very dedicated to this, as you’re, Mr. Vice President.

And so I’ve obtained my job, and I’m going to proceed to do it by way of the summer time, and hopefully we’ll attain a decision right here shortly so all people can plan.

Thanks a lot.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thanks, Senator.  Congresswoman?

REPRESENTATIVE MILLER:  Mr. Vice President, thanks a lot for being right here at present.  Your workforce has been unimaginable.  What you’ve performed since January has — is great.

We’re workforce gamers in West Virginia.  And with out repeating what my pricey senator has already mentioned, West Virginians do work collectively, and the Nationwide Guard, how they stepped ahead, and in any problem: “Do you want assist with this?  Bought it lined.”  “Do you want assist with this?  We’re doing this.”  The brand new masks, the varied issues.  They — they’ve even helped employees our meals banks.  They only have gone above and past.  And, , all the best way to the county stage with our well being departments — everyone seems to be working collectively.

And I feel the brilliance of what our governor has performed with the brand new system that he’s doing for implementing our faculties — and I’m positive you already considered it, however I didn’t till I used to be sitting right here — that you’re giving the faculties, you’re giving the scholars accountability.  You’re letting them know that they’re in control of how they behave so as to get to play sports activities, so as to get again to class, to get to hang around with your mates, as a result of then they perceive that their habits is essential.  How they be sure that they wash their arms.  You understand, in the event that they’re enjoying workforce sports activities, how they deal with themselves.  You’re giving them accountability, which I feel is a extremely good transfer to serving to get us again within the faculties.

However once more, I need to thank everybody at present for being such an incredible workforce.  And we — to be given this pandemic, that hasn’t occurred in over 100 years, we all know we are going to get it — similar to we dealt with polio, we are going to maintain this.  But it surely’s simply getting by way of the ultimate hoops.

And so far as Congress goes, we’d like the cash in the best locations, in the best arms, to take care of the COVID problem and with the schooling and with the small companies as a result of they’re the center and soul of West Virginia, in addition to the remainder of the nation, and never attempt to cowl the whole lot with the cash, however put the cash the place it must be.

And thanks all a lot for being right here.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thanks, Congresswoman.

Congressman Mooney.

REPRESENTATIVE MOONEY:  Thanks, Mr. Vice President, for coming once more.  Your administration has proven West Virginia extra consideration and assist than, I feel, any previous administration.  So we admire you coming.  It’s been an incredible roundtable dialogue.

I feel, , a few of our colleagues had wished the federal authorities, the President, and also you to primarily declare martial regulation and take the whole lot over, use the Protection Manufacturing Act, and simply — like a socialized nation would do, have the federal authorities run the whole lot.  And that’s only a horrible thought.

And as we mentioned right here at present, our governor — , native management is best.  Our governors give you a system that works for West Virginia.  It could be totally different for various states.  Frankly, it’s totally different for various areas of the state inside our state.  You understand, southern West Virginia has totally different points than the northern panhandle, for instance.  So we’d like that flexibility.  I admire the pliability.  I admire having a governor that we will speak to about, , our congressional districts and what’s wanted.  So thanks for that.  Each of you, thanks for what you’re doing there.

On my method down right here yesterday, I finished in Hampshire County.  I toured a small enterprise.  The girl there has 4 sons, and he or she’s additionally elevating her niece and nephew.  And she or he’s working within the small enterprise that she co-owns, and he or she wants these faculties to open as a result of she has no different, actually — , no different possibility.  And she or he requested me to deliver that message right here at present, so I’ve performed that.

I do know there may very well be some adverse penalties, however the good about opening the faculties goes to far outweigh any adverse penalties.  So it’s nice to listen to at present that we’ve concepts in that regard to get the faculties open.  And I hope we will get some assist from the federal stage by way of there, overcome an unneeded Democrat filibuster within the U.S. Senate over the whole lot, and really go schooling funding can be good so we might be there to assist our states as we will.

So thanks.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Congressman, thanks.  I’m going to let the Governor have the final phrase, however I thanks.  I need to thank all three of you on your nice management.

And also you make an exquisite level about working households.  I imply, to open up America, President Trump and I imagine we obtained to open up America’s faculties.  I really noticed a statistic, just like the household you spoke with: Only one in 5 single dad and mom in America can telework.  Meaning eight out of 10 single dad and mom on this nation can’t return to work if their youngsters don’t return to highschool.

So the President and I imagine it’s vital to get youngsters again to highschool as a result of we don’t need them to fall behind academically, we don’t need them to overlook out on essential providers, whether or not or not it’s vitamin or particular wants or studying disabilities, or any of the counseling they obtain at faculties.  But it surely’s additionally — it’s additionally vital for working households that we open our faculties.

And, Governor, I simply need to echo the appreciation for the cautious, considerate method you’ve actually empowered native communities to have the knowledge, to have the mitigation efforts to have the ability to return to highschool and again to work.

However thanks once more.  This has been a really informative briefing for members of our process pressure.  We look ahead to persevering with to work with you within the weeks and months forward.

GOVERNOR JUSTICE:  Nicely, like I mentioned, in wrapping this up in a short time, we will by no means thanks sufficient.  And I understand how a lot our Vice President has labored.  I understand how a lot our Congress has labored, all of his workforce.  I do know that.  I understand how nice our workforce has been.

And I might simply finish by simply saying simply this: West Virginia has been a mannequin in a variety of methods.  And lots of people might say, effectively, the rationale issues have been unhealthy in West Virginia is due to our mountains or as a result of we’re aside, .  But it surely doesn’t matter.  We see — we see an outbreak in a 30-person nursing dwelling.  You understand, if you happen to’ve obtained 50,000 individuals in a metropolis, it might have an effect on our metropolis simply in addition to it might have an effect on a metropolis with hundreds of thousands.

We’ve performed the best issues right here, and we’ve performed them from the standpoint of simply this: We now have stayed collectively.  And I might by no means be extra pleased with what the individuals of West Virginia have performed.  However we might have by no means performed this with out the Trump workforce and all of the work that everyone has performed to make it develop into a actuality for West Virginia.

And all people is aware of that I’m nice associates with the Trump household and the whole lot else, however all people else is aware of, , that, actually, I don’t blow smoke in anyone.  I don’t have time to do it, and I simply inform it like it’s as finest I probably can.

I’m telling you, with none query, the assistance from this authorities has been unbelievable for the state and the individuals of West Virginia.  And we’re going to win this battle.  We’re going to get throughout this end line.  And we’re going to return to highschool, and we’re going to do all issues, however we’re going to do it safely.  We’re going to do it in a method that’s protected for our academics, our service personnel, our children.  That’s — all of us need the identical factor.

However, completely, we simply don’t need to sit over within the nook and wither up and die, as a result of that’s what we might do, is wither up and die.

And so I simply, once more, thanks for the whole lot.  And need to be an element and need to be supportive, and — as you lead this nation ahead.  Thanks a lot, sir.

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thanks, Governor.  Thanks all.

END            12:29 P.M. EDT

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