DALLAS. Vice President Mike Pence took off his mask from the White House and smiled at a crowd of thousands of people on Sunday morning. However, he was not technically the headliner of a political rally – he was in a church in a state in which there was a sharp jump in cases of coronavirus.
Pence was in Texas to discuss the deepening crisis with Gov. Greg Abbott, but he first stopped at the Dallas First Baptist Church, a huge complex led by pastor Robert Jeffress, a dedicated Trump supporter, to lead the Freedom Celebration rally. At this event – the patriotic Jamboree, which was part of the service, part of the celebration before the fourth of July – Pence preached to believers a message of hope, calling the fight against COVID-19 based on liberation.
“We will first of all take care of the health of the inhabitants of the Lonely Star, and every single day we will continue to restore our freedom and our way of life,” said Pence, who also said that “in these times, we remember well that the foundation of America it is freedom, and the basis of freedom is faith. ”
Speaking for nearly half an hour about patriotism and faith, Pence also touched on nationwide protests caused by the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed by Minneapolis police, and his recent desire to remove statues of the Confederacy.
“We all know about the tragic events of recent days, and let me say that there is no excuse for what happened to George Floyd,” Pence said. “There is also no excuse for the unrest, robbery and violence that followed. Burning churches do not protest. Demolition is not freedom of speech. ”
Church services were part of one of the most controversial discussions against the spread of coronavirus, contrasting religious freedom with public health.
President Trump openly spoke out in support of the opening of churches, although health experts warned that gathering large numbers of people in confined spaces could lead to new outbreaks. A recent outbreak in West Virginia has been linked to churches.
Singing during religious services may increase this riskSpreading respiratory droplets even further.
Yet in Dallas, these warnings did not seem to concern those present.
More than 2,000 participants, most – but not all masked – sat shoulder to shoulder in the long rows of benches that gathered the church. The American orchestra, such as the Yankee Doodle, sounded in the full orchestra, and the choir, which numbered over a hundred, sang the national anthem and other patriotic songs.
The visit to Pence’s church took place when Abbott continued to hinder the opening of the state amid a resurgence of the virus. More than 25,000 new cases of coronavirus were reported in Texas last week, and the positive rate for laboratory tests, a key distribution measure, rose to over 11 percent after falling below 5 percent in May.
Abbott answered closing bars and instructing restaurants to return to 50 percent capacity.
Members of the Trump administration continued to insist that the United States had made progress in fighting the virus, while at the same time expressing concern at the growing number of cases at the national level. Alex Hazard, Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Human Services, told CNN on Sunday that “the window is closing so that we can take action and take control.”
Hazard called for critical changes to occur locally. “The window is closing. We must act, and people and people must act responsibly, ”he repeated on NBC.
Abbott echoed these concerns at a joint Sunday press conference with Pence and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. “Over the past two weeks, COVID-19 has made a very quick and very dangerous turn in Texas,” Abbott said.
The governor, when possible, forced himself to wear face masks, hand disinfection and social distance as tools that Texas could use to try to reduce the number of positive cases.
“If you don’t need to go out, there’s no reason to go out at this time,” Abbott said. “If you can keep your distance from others, this is a very good and safe place.”
Kate Bedingfield, deputy campaign manager Joe Biden, said Pence’s trip to Dallas “represents the dismissive attitude that the administration has taken to tackle this crisis from the start.”
“Our leaders must decisively combat this pandemic and devise concrete recovery plans for the American people, and not engage in reactive hostilities across the country to conduct activities that run counter to basic public health recommendations,” Bedingfield writes.
The Biden campaign did not hold a personal rally, as coronavirus cases were blocked in the United States, and Biden made limited public appearances in Pennsylvania and his home state of Delaware.
Last week, Dallas County recorded the largest increase in COVID-19 cases since the outbreak. One of the main measures to reduce the transmission of coronavirus was the appointment of protective coatings for the face.
However, wearing masks was the last guerrilla cultural war, with recent survey showing that Republicans are less likely to wear face masks than Democrats at the national level. The first Trump campaign rally in months was not required to wear signs. Trump only has was photographed in a mask onceThis leads to criticism that mixed leadership comes from the very top.
At a press conference in Dallas, Pence was outraged when asked if the White House should be more public and decisive in supporting the wearing of the mask, instead stating that since he is the head of the coronavirus working group, the administration is “promoting the practice” of wearing the mask.
“For everyone, if you can’t maintain social distance, it’s just a good idea to wear a mask,” Pence said.
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