WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence has concluded the White House’s first coronavirus task force briefing in months without taking questions or urging Americans not to travel at Thanksgiving as the virus rages.
Pence walked out Thursday and ignored shouted questions as to whether he acknowledged the election result and about whether not cooperating with the transition was endangering American lives by not delivering vital vaccine information to President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration.
Though the officials urged Americans to follow social distancing guidelines, they predominantly painted an optimistic portrait of the nation’s response to the pandemic, particularly touting the progress made on a vaccine. That stood in stark contrast to a more somber assessment offered by Biden at his own briefing minutes earlier.
President Donald Trump, who has not conceded the election, was not in attendance, nor was task force member Dr. Scott Atlas, who has expressed skepticism about masks. Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci returned to the White House podium for the first time in months.