Vice President Mike Pence went on a tour of the Mayo Clinic’s coronavirus testing labs Tuesday — and ignored the prestigious Minnesota hospital’s rules that all occupants wear a mask.
“Mayo Clinic had informed @VP of the masking policy prior to his arrival today,” the clinic tweeted while Pence was still inside meeting with doctors and patients. The tweet was later deleted.
The clinic referred press questions to the vice president’s office, which had no immediate comment.
A reporter who accompanied Pence on the tour said he was the only person seen inside the facility without a face covering. Photos and video of his tour posted on social media showed Pence meeting with several doctors and at least one patient.
While meeting with the doctors, Pence thanked them for the “whole of Minnesota” approach they’d taken toward coronavirus testing.
The vice president has regularly called on Americans to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines to “stop the spread” of the coronavirus. One of the CDC recommendations is that people wear face masks in public to lessen the chance of infecting others.
Pence spokeswoman Katie Miller told The New York Times last week that he didn’t need to wear a mask because he’s tested negative for the virus. “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,” Miller told the paper. “Vice President Pence is negative for Covid-19 and is therefore not asymptomatic.”