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Wednesday, March 18, 2020
WND Columnist Misleads To Defend Pence
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jerry Newcombe complained in his March 3 WorldNetDaily column:

After President Trump named Vice President Pence last week to lead the nation's battle against the coronavirus, many in the media decried the choice because supposedly Mike Pence "doesn't believe in science." How could he? He's a Christian. So the logic goes.

They mock along the lines of: Maybe he just wants to pray the virus away.

Late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel quipped, "Why is Mike Pence in charge? What is his plan to stop the virus, abstinence?"

Writing for (Feb. 26), Reed Richardson noted, "President Donald Trump's decision to task Mike Pence with heading up the federal government's coronavirus response triggered an immediate backlash as critics noted the vice president's record of doubting scientific evidence and his role in exacerbating an HIV outbreak in Indiana while he was governor."

Richardson argues that Pence allegedly did a poor job in quelling the HIV outbreak in Indiana because for two days, he canceled a needle-exchange program, and supposedly during those two days, the HIV "infection rates exploded." After praying about it, Pence relented. An explosion of new cases in just two days?

Newcombe is lying -- that's not what the Mediaite article said. This is what it said:

Trump said Pence has “a certain talent for this” and specifically cited the “Indiana model” in the Wednesday evening press conference where he named his VP to run the coronavirus response. But as this extensive New York Times report detailed in 2016, the staunch conservative Pence’s health policies helped ignite a massive public health crisis in his state when he shut down a needle exchange program that had severely curtailed the spread of HIV. Virus infection rates exploded, and Pence — two days after he said he would pray on the matter — relented and reinstated the program.

The article very clearly states that HIV infection rates "exploded" after he shut down a needle exchange program -- and before Pence took his two-day prayer sabbatical to  decided to reinstate it. But the situation was actually worse: As researchers reported in Politico, victims could not easily learn their HIV status because Pence supported budget cuts to a Planned Parenthood clinic that happened to be the only HIV testing provider in the area, the state took more than a month to inform local officials about an HIV surge, and it was not until a month after that that Pence finally approved a needle exchange -- which he then undermined by signing a bill that increased punishment for people carrying needles and made possession of a syringe wiht intent to commit an offense a felony. A preventable HIV outbreak was mismanaged, researchers concluded.

The rest of Newcombe's column was dedicated to defending Pence against the "canard that Christians are somehow anti-science," insisting that "The founder of every major branch of science was a Bible-believing Christian of one stripe or another."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:58 AM EDT

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