- Vice President Mike Pence violated the Mayo Clinic’s face-mask policy when he visited its facility in Minnesota on Tuesday.
- Photo and video footage from his visit showed that Pence was one of the few people there without a mask.
- The Mayo Clinic tweeted and then deleted a message that it had “informed” Pence beforehand of its policy requiring all visitors to wear face coverings.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Vice President Mike Pence violated the Mayo Clinic’s requirement that visitors wear face coverings when he visited its Rochester, Minnesota headquarters on Tuesday.
Pence is the leader of the White House’s coronavirus task force, which has zeroed in on quickly ramping up coronavirus testing in the US. The Mayo Clinic recently partnered with the University of Minnesota to increase the state’s testing capacity.
But on Tuesday, video and photo footage of Pence noticeably not wearing a mask per the clinic’s rules quickly surfaced on social media. Since April 13, the clinic has required all patients and visitors to wear a mask or other face covering in accordance with guidelines from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) April 28, 2020
The Mayo Clinic tweeted but then deleted a message that it “informed” Pence about its face-mask policy before his visit.
Politico’s Dan Diamond also said a Mayo Clinic representative explained that it had communicated the policy to Pence and his staff.
Throughout the coronavirus crisis, Pence has frequently disregarded his own task force’s and administration’s guidance that Americans wear face coverings in public.
Last week, The New York Times reported that Pence felt he didn’t need to wear a mask because he had been tested and was showing no symptoms. But as the newspaper noted, Pence could still contract the highly contagious novel coronavirus even though he’s tested negative, or have a false negative test.
“When the face-covering guidelines were developed, it was with the intention to not only protect yourself, but primarily to protect others from asymptomatic spread,” Katie Miller, Pence’s spokeswoman, told The Times. “Vice President Pence is negative for Covid-19 and is therefore not asymptomatic.”
At Tuesday’s visit, Pence told reporters that “as Vice President of the United States I’m tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus,” adding, “I thought it’d be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers, these incredible healthcare personnel, and look them in the eye and say thank you.”
He notably did not wear a mask while greeting Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on his way to the Air Force Academy graduation ceremony on April 18. Polis sported a mask designed like the Colorado flag.
Here’s a masked Gov. Jared Polis meeting an unmasked Pence in VP’s trip to Colorado 10 days ago. pic.twitter.com/fQJc3PvJwj
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) April 28, 2020
Pence also didn’t wear a mask during his April 21 visit to a General Electric factory producing ventilators in Wisconsin, despite being close to other people.
Here is the union T-shirt VP Pence just mentioned at the WH briefing, saying he brought it back from GE Wisconsin for Pres. Trump. pic.twitter.com/sN2OMF1nGd
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) April 22, 2020