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Pence to Levin: Biden Never Condemned Cuomo for Returning COVID Patients to Nursing Homes

By Lucy Collins | October 26, 2020 | 3:14pm EDT
Vice President Mike Pence gives a speech. (Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Vice President Mike Pence gives a speech. (Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNS News) -- Vice President Mike Pence told conservative author Mark Levin that presidential candidate Joe Biden never condemned New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his policy forcing nursing home patients who tested positive for COVID-19 into nursing homes, which resulted in seniors catching and dying from the virus, on Sunday's episode of "Life, Liberty & Levin."

“The CDC issued guidance for nursing homes to be able to safely operate," Pence told Levin. "But to see some governors, like the governor of New York, literally return positive COVID patients to nursing homes, it breaks my heart to think of the lives that were lost, particularly as we were surging resources into New York and New Jersey and New Orleans and Detroit during those difficult days of the pandemic in March and in April."

Levin asked Pence if Biden ever condemned the governors for their nursing home policy.

“No.” Pence responded. 

Below is a transcript of the segment.

Mark Levin: You know, Mr. Vice President, many of the poor souls who passed away, passed away in nursing homes and assisted living facilities and so forth, decisions made by governors like Cuomo and Murphy and Whitmer and Pritzker and Newsom and others, where they placed people with positive coronavirus tests into these homes with elderly people, frail people, upwards of 40% or so of the population, over 80,000 people by my last review of the CDC numbers...did the president have a policy where people who are positive with the coronavirus should be placed with elderly or frail people?

Mike Pence: You know, from very early in this pandemic, we realized that seniors, particularly those with serious underlying health conditions, were most vulnerable to serious outcomes with the coronavirus. It's one of the reasons why the president directed that the standards for infectious disease prevention were all raised in every nursing home in America; we have 8,000 inspectors we oversee that go and review nursing homes for compliance. We dedicated all of them to ensuring that infectious disease standards were being met. We focused on seniors from the very beginning. And we've never stopped, Mark. We know that they've been at risk. The CDC issued guidance for nursing homes to be able to safely operate. But to see some governors, like the governor of New York, literally return positive COVID patients to nursing homes, it breaks my heart to think of the lives that were lost, particularly as we were surging resources into New York and New Jersey and New Orleans and Detroit during those difficult days of the pandemic in March and in April. I mean, literally, we sailed a ship into New York Harbor, we surged military, medical personnel, we built overflow facilities in cities around the country. And really there was no excuse for any public official returning seniors into a nursing home environment that hadn't been created to be safe and quarantined, under CDC guidance. So look, there'll be plenty of time for people to be held accountable for that. But I will tell you from early in this pandemic, President Trump has put a specific focus on seniors and every single day and I expect through the vaccine, there'll be an independent board that determines who receives the vaccine first, but if history is a teacher, we would anticipate that seniors, particularly those who that have underlying conditions, any American with an immunodeficiency, the most vulnerable will have the coronavirus vaccine first.

Levin: Yes or no, has Joe Biden ever condemned Cuomo, these other governors, their policies for putting coronavirus-positive patients in nursing homes to your knowledge? 

Pence: No. 

Levin: So he’s never condemned the governors and he’s never condemned the policy. I've never heard it either.

Lucy Collins is a CNSNews intern and a student at Columbia University.

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