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Mike Pence Frames Election As A Choice About Values, Prosperity In Duluth Campaign Stop

Vice President Touts Pandemic Response, Economic Recovery And Order

mike pence in duluth
Vice President Mike Pence waves after arriving at the Duluth International Airport for a campaign stop in Duluth, Minn., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. Jack Rendulich/AP Photo

Vice President Mike Pence touted the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and economic recovery at a campaign stop in Duluth on Friday. Pence also highlighted that President Donald Trump will stand for law and order as Wisconsin and other states have sometimes witnessed violent protests.

Hundreds gathered at the Clure Public Marine Terminal in the Twin Ports on Friday to hear the vice president speak. Pence echoed many of the themes from his speech at the convention, in which he said the 2020 election is a choice of “whether America remains America.”

He touted President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has reached more than 5.8 million cases nationwide and claimed the lives of more than 181,000 as of Friday. Pence said Trump acted quickly to suspend all travel from China, as well as provide billions of supplies to health care professionals working on the front lines of the pandemic.

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Yet, Democrats like presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden say 45 countries enacted travel restrictions before Trump, who suspended travel shortly after the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency. Democratic governors were also critical of the administration in the early days of the pandemic for difficulty accessing testing supplies.

“We’re seeing positive trends all across the country. Even in the wake of the outbreak in the Sun Belt, we’re seeing downward trends,” said Pence. “We’re slowing the spread. We’re protecting the vulnerable. We’re saving lives, and we’re opening up America again.”

Crowd Gathers At Pence Campaign Stop In Duluth
Hundreds wait to enter a campaign event with Vice President Mike Pence at the Clure Public Marine Terminal in Duluth on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. Danielle Kaeding/WPR

Pence also said that a coronavirus vaccine could be available by the end of the year as top virus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci warned against rushing out a vaccine before it’s been proven safe. Pence promised supporters that the Trump administration would continue to put the health of Americans first as they worked to rebuild the economy. Many of the people waiting in line to enter the event on Friday were not wearing masks, but campaign officials told supporters they were required to get in.

Democrats have been critical of campaign stops as public health officials continue to urge people to wear masks and maintain social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. About 40 percent of Wisconsinites think Trump has handled the pandemic well, according to the most recent poll from Marquette University Law School.

becky hall at pence campaign stop
Becky Hall of Duluth (far right) attends a campaign stop for Vice President Mike Pence with family and friends on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. Danielle Kaeding/WPR

Trump supporter Becky Hall of Duluth said health and jobs are among her top concerns. She feels that the administration has been doing a great job handling the pandemic.

“We’re practicing safe measures. I got my own mask right now,” she said, pointing to her bandana. “We’re doing it, and we’re going to get back to health. And, we need to do it soon. I appreciate that our president and our vice president want us back to work and back to our way of life.”

Trump supporter Doug Poynter of Superior voiced concerns about how people are being told to act during the coronavirus pandemic.

“People aren’t going to have the free choice to do their work or whatever,” Poynter said.

Poynter also believes Trump has done a good job with the economy as unemployment has declined from 14.7 to 10.2 percent since the beginning of the pandemic. Yet, more than 16 million people remain unemployed, according to most recent job figures. He also felt Trump has done well with handling turmoil over police shootings in cities like Kenosha, Minneapolis and Portland. He highlighted Trump’s offer of federal assistance to local authorities.

“He can’t do more than what he’s done. It’s up to the governors and the mayors to do something, and they refuse,” he said.

Doug Poynter At Pence Campaign Stop
Doug Poynter of Superior said President Donald Trump is the last resort to avoid socialism across the nation before a campaign stop with Vice President Mike Pence in Duluth on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. Danielle Kaeding/WPR

Gov. Tony Evers has defended his administration’s response to recent civil unrest after white Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Black Kenosha resident Jacob Blake in the back seven times on Sunday.

Yet, many of Trump’s supporters voiced concern about safety and security at the Duluth event, as well as proposals to defund police.

Pence told the crowd that Trump will never defund law enforcement and would act quickly to provide federal assistance for states who request it. The vice president said the administration would seek to bring law and order for every race, color and creed.

“We don’t have to choose between supporting law enforcement and standing with our African American neighbors to improve their lives, improve their schools and create new pathways to live the American dream,” Pence said.

If former Vice President Joe Biden were elected, Pence claimed that he would be a Trojan horse for the radical left that would bring down the nation’s decline.

Democrats have denounced similar claims by Pence at the Republican National Convention this week, including U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison.

“Donald Trump and Mike Pence are the folks in charge in this country at a time with all that’s going on — the thousands of people who’ve died from COVID-19, from the unrest we have in the streets, from the economic conditions that have closed more than 100,000 businesses. This is all happening under Donald Trump and Mike Pence,” Pocan said.