Mike Pence ‘Unmasked’: Visits Mayo Clinic
Hospitals across the nation have tightened rules for visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Facilities may limit or entirely prohibit visitors or may screen a visitor’s health upon entrance. They may require a mask or other protective equipment. The Mayo Clinic, where Mike Pence visited Tuesday for a roundtable discussion with clinic employees and met with staff and patients, is no exception — except, apparently, for Pence. Trump’s Vice President can be seen in coverage of the event, interacting with patients and staff, without any protective equipment.
The Mayo Clinic’s Rochester, Minnesota campus, where Pence visited, has issued new rules for patients and visitors. These include limiting entry (no one under 13 can enter the clinic unless receiving care; only one person may accompany a patient), requiring additional screening to enter the clinic, and requiring all visitors to wear masks.
However, Politico reporter Dan Diamond shared video Tuesday afternoon of Pence, in a room with a patient and several other people. With over half a dozen people in the frame, Pence is the only one not wearing a mask.
PENCE flouts Mayo Clinic policy that everyone on campus wear a mask, even as he meets with staff and a patient. pic.twitter.com/kfo64KQDhU
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) April 28, 2020
Pence himself tweeted about his upcoming visit on Monday, appending to his tweet an ABC News article about the clinic and state’s testing goals. The image in Pence’s tweet depicts someone wearing scrubs, mask and plastic face guard, surgical cap, gloves, and protective apron.
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) April 28, 2020
However, Pence can’t be seen wearing any protective gear himself.
In a video Pence tweeted later, he sits at a long table with others from his meeting, including Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. Again, the Vice President is the only person without a mask, and sipping from a cup.
According to NY Mag, VP Mike Pence was asked why he didn’t follow the basic required precaution when visiting the Mayo Clinic, and said he didn’t need one.
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. And since I don’t have the coronavirus, 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.
President Donald Trump has also expressed an unwillingness to wear masks, saying that the precaution is just a suggestion.