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Pence promises governors smooth transition on coronavirus task force call

Pence promises governors smooth transition on coronavirus task force call
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Vice President Pence on Tuesday assured governors there would be a smooth transition into the Biden administration during his final conference call with state leaders as head of the coronavirus task force.

Pence acknowledged to governors — more than two months after President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenDobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' Should deficits matter any more? Biden's Cabinet gradually confirmed by Senate MORE was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election — that the Trump administration was coming to an end. 

The vice president called it one of the greatest honors of his life to play "some small role" in managing the pandemic response, according to a source on the call, and promised he was committed to a "seamless transition." 

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A member of Biden's own coronavirus task force was included on Tuesday's call, an administration official said.

The comments come as the incoming Biden administration faces formidable challenges in getting a raging pandemic under control, and after Pence and other Trump administration officials went weeks without conceding the election, complicating efforts to set up a new government.

Biden is likely to take office without a single Cabinet official confirmed. That lag could hinder his ability to fulfill his promise to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office, and to also return children to in-person learning in that time.

Pence was named leader of the White House coronavirus task force in late February when just a handful of Americans had tested positive for COVID-19. He held weekly calls with governors throughout the year to discuss the administration's response, with recent meetings focusing on vaccine distribution.

But the country has struggled to get the pandemic under control as the Trump administration failed to put out clear guidance on wearing masks and other measures, and as the president himself undermined public health experts.

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The U.S. has regularly in recent weeks set records for cases confirmed in a single day, as well as deaths from the virus per day. The country last week recorded more than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths in a single day for the first time.

Pence last week was taken to a secure location after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol building to try to halt the certification of electoral votes affirming Biden as the next president. Pence had faced pressure from President TrumpDonald TrumpBlinken holds first calls as Biden's secretary of State Senators discussing Trump censure resolution Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' MORE to reject electors for Biden, but the vice president said he did not have the power to do so.

Trump still has not conceded that he legitimately lost the election to Biden. The president has not been engaged in the pandemic response in months, however, according to administration officials.