5 People Close to VP Pence Test Positive for COVID
Several members of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff have tested positive for the coronavirus, but the vice president will continue his work, including presiding over the Senate for Monday’s critical confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
All told, five Pence staffers, including Chief of Staff Marc Short, have tested positive in the past few days, according to Fox News. In addition to Short, Pence adviser Marty Obst and three aides also tested positive.
Pence and his wife, Karen, both tested negative Saturday and Sunday, according to The New York Times.
Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for Pence, said the vice president is not stopping his work.
“While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the vice president will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel,” O’Malley said on Saturday, according to The Times.
Pence noted on Saturday that he will be in the Senate on Monday night when the Senate is scheduled to vote on confirming Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, according to NBC.
“As vice president, I’m President of the Senate. And I’m gonna be in the chair because I wouldn’t miss that vote for the world,” he said at a campaign event in Tallahassee, Florida, NBC reported. “And I’ll make you a prediction: Come this Monday night, Judge Amy Coney Barrett is going to be Justice Amy Coney Barrett. We’re gonna fill that seat.”
During a CNN interview on Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows sidestepped questions about the extent of coronavirus infections among Pence’s staff, according to CNN.
“Sharing personal information is not something that we should do,” Meadows said.
He said those who need to know will be informed,
“Anytime there’s someone in harm’s way, we have an obligation to let people know for contract-tracing,” Meadows said.
Meadows said Pence and President Donald Trump are doing more than campaigning as Election Day nears.
“Actually he’s not just campaigning, he’s working. We saw a Middle East peace agreement with Sudan in the Oval Office that the president engaged in,” Meadows said, according to the New York Post.
“And for anybody to suggest that the president has been out campaigning and not getting things done, all you have to do is look at the facts,” Meadows said.
He said Pence is considered to be an essential worker.
“I’m not saying he’s not campaigning. I’m saying that is only part of what he’s doing,” Meadows said. “As we look at that, essential personnel, whether it’s the vice president of the United States or anyone else, has to continue on.”
Pence will wear a mask and use social distancing as he travels, Meadows said.
Trump was briefly hospitalized earlier this month after testing positive for the virus. First lady Melania Trump also tested positive.
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