Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen, appeared on Fox & Friends to defend her husband’s choice to forego a mask when visiting the Mayo Clinic, despite their policy requiring one. In an interview, she claimed that Pence didn’t know about the clinic’s requirement to wear a mask until after his visit. However, a tweet from the Mayo Clinic contradicts that.
On Tuesday, Mike Pence visited the Mayo Clinic to discuss COVID-19 treatments. He can be seen in numerous photos and clips, surrounded by people wearing masks — but without one himself. In some images Pence is the only person of more than half a dozen in a frame who is maskless. There’s even a clip of Pence casually sipping from a cup while people to either side of him remain protectively masked.
As outrage and backlash grew, the Mayo Clinic tweeted a response.
Mayo Clinic had informed @VP of the masking policy prior to his arrival today.
The tweet was later deleted, though an archived copy of it is visible here.
In direct contradiction to that, Karen Pence spoke to Fox News Thursday, defending her husband’s decision to defy the directive, but also claiming that he didn’t know the rule existed.
It was actually after he left Mayo Clinic that he found out that they had a policy of asking everyone to wear a mask.
Though the denial is new, the other excuse she offered is the party line that’s been offered since Pence’s visit: she says that Trump’s VP didn’t feel a need to wear a mask, since he’s not sick. According to NPR, Pence specifically said that he didn’t need to wear a mask, since he is tested regularly for the virus, and everyone around him is tested.
He also explained that he wanted to look health care providers in the eye, an apparent non sequitur since protective masks do not cover the eyes, and since the health care providers themselves were masked.
The Mayo Clinic’s policy includes providing a mask to those who show up without one, though there has been no public statement as to whether Pence was specifically offered one.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com