King is generally among the most mild-mannered senators but was extraordinarily frustrated with the Trump administration’s testing woes. He said that the administration had left states adrift.
Pence responded to King by saying there have been misunderstandings about the federal government’s work with states, according to a person familiar with a call, and Pence explained how the administration had been coordinating with states to ramp up testing. Pence was even keeled in the face of the frustration, that person said. But Democrats said afterward they felt he wasn’t giving clear answers to their questions.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) pressed Pence on Trump’s Twitter feed at the end of the call, asking why the president was trying to incite division by tweeting “LIBERATE” Virginia, Minnesota and Michigan and aligning himself with protests in those states over their lockdowns. Pence said the administration was working with governors but that the president will continue to communicate with the American people as he always had.
That demurral left Democrats unsatisfied. Kaine said Trump’s tweets were disrespectful and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) asked Pence to answer Kaine’s question.