Second lady Karen Pence defended the vice president on Thursday after he was criticized for not wearing a protective mask during his visit to the Minnesota Mayo Clinic this week.
“As our medical experts have told us, wearing a mask prevents you from spreading the disease, and knowing that he doesn’t have COVID-19, he didn’t wear one,” Karen Pence told Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” saying Vice President Mike Pence had tested negative for the virus.
On April 13, the Mayo Clinic announced that it would require all patients and visitors to wear a face mask or cover when they visit the clinic.
Patients and visitors are asked to bring their own, but if they do not have a mask, the Mayo Clinic would provide one.
The Mayo Clinic has apparently deleted this tweet, in which it said it told Pence of its mask policy before he declined to wear one. pic.twitter.com/UAQaWG6E8a
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) April 28, 2020
“It was actually after he left Mayo Clinic that he found out that they had a policy of asking everyone to wear a mask,” Karen Pence told “Fox & Friends.”
Video footage and photographs from Pence’s visit to the clinic show the vice president not wearing a mask while everyone else around him was.
Pence told reporters that he agreed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mask guidelines and said that he, and everyone around him, is regularly tested for the virus.
Many Democrats, mainstream media figures and celebrities were quick to criticize Pence’s decision.
“In Pence’s visit to the Mayo Clinic, he was trying to show us how ‘tough’ he is — but just showed his arrogance, lack of concern for others, and vanity,” Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard tweeted.
Actress Barbra Streisand tweeted that Pence and President Donald Trump are “terrible role models for our nation.”
Pence was warned to wear a mask during a tour of the Mayo Clinic and refused. Do he and Trump think they’re invincible or is Pence afraid of Trump? What terrible role models for our nation. https://t.co/xKXWOWHuIt
— Barbra Streisand (@BarbraStreisand) April 28, 2020
Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois scolded Pence and told WMAQ-TV, “I think the vice president was acting as irresponsibly as the hosts who were holding a house party [over the weekend] in Chicago.”
Fellow Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, a Republican, countered that the guidelines don’t say everyone has to “wear a mask 24 hours a day.”
“The guidelines aren’t wear a mask every second, every day,” he said. “It is be safe.”
Karen Pence added, “Someone who has worked on this whole task force for over two months is not someone who would have done anything to offend anyone or hurt anyone or scare anyone.”
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