State Emergency Operations Center
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, thank you, Governor Edwards.  It’s good to be in Louisiana, even at a challenging time.We’re here today to say to all of you that have been working on the frontlines of Louisiana’s response to the coronavirus and to all the people of Louisiana — on behalf of the President of the United States and our entire team at the federal level — that we’re with you, and we’re going to stay with you every step of the way until we put the coronavirus in the past.

I also wanted to come today just to say thank you.  As the Governor said, we’ve been working very closely from the outset of this pandemic.  And Louisiana demonstrated early on, and the good people of this state demonstrated early on, the ability to put into practice the very things that will slow the spread and save lives.

I remember the early conversations with the Governor, with both of your senators, members of the delegation in Congress, about the deep concern that we had, particularly for New Orleans, early on.

But because of the efforts of everyone in this room, because of the cooperation of the people of that great city and this great state, we — we not only slowed the spread, but we bent the curve, and we’re going to do it again.

This is a serious time with rising cases across Louisiana and all across the Sun Belt.  But as all of you know, because of your efforts, because of the unprecedented national response marshalled by our President, because of the seamless partnership with your governor, and because of the extraordinary support that we’ve received from members of Congress, we have more resources today to deal with this pandemic than ever before.

We’ll be briefing the governor today.  We’ll be traveling to LSU later today to talk about increasing testing.  In fact, we have a new surge site in Baton Rouge, among surge sites in testing that are being implemented around the country.  PPE has been made available in the hundreds of millions of supplies.  Therapeutics, like remdesivir, continue to be distributed to states, including Louisiana.  And I’m proud to report that we’re moving forward aggressively, at warp speed, on the development of a vaccine.

But each and every one of you have been the hands and feet of Louisiana’s response.  And on behalf of your President, on behalf of the entire White House Coronavirus Task Force, I just came by to say thank you.  Thank you for the long hours that you’ve put in.  Thank you for the sacrifices that your families have made.

I read this morning in my devotions that we’re to run the race marked out for us with perseverance and faith.  And I just want to promise you: As we run this race, as we meet this moment — whether you be in emergency management or in the National Guard, or part of the great FEMA team here, working with our Region 6 team, Tony Robinson; working with our leader at FEMA, Pete Gaynor, who was here in Louisiana just yesterday — we’re going to make sure that the people of Louisiana and this team have what you need, when you need it, and we’re going to stay with you every step of the way.

With that, I’m going to turn the podium, Governor, over, with your permission, to two senators who have been remarkable partners for the President and our entire administration in this effort.  The availability of a national response, the availability of resources to the state under the CARES Act, support for families, support for businesses will continue to allow us, as we deal with rising cases, to continue to responsibly open up our economy, to be there for families in Louisiana.  And we trust, as we’ll talk later today, to get our kids back into school.

So I might just enjoy — ask you to join me in thanking Senator John Kennedy and Senator Bill Cassidy.  And I’d like to invite them to bring few remarks.  (Applause.)

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