Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday toured the Mayo Clinic without wearing a mask, despite that renowned medical facility telling him that masks are required for visitors and everyone else there to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Video from a journalist pool camera at the Mayo Clinic at one point shows that 10 people in the area around Pence, including a patient, were wearing masks and personal protective equipment.
In this pool image, Vice President Mike Pence Visits the Mayo Clinic Rochester Facilities, April 28, 2020. Pence is surrounded by 9 other people with masks including a patient.
Press Pool Video
Pence leads President Donald Trump‘s coronavirus task force.
The Mayo Clinic, which is located in Rochester, Minn., is requiring all patients, visitors and staff to wear a face covering or mask to slow the spread of Covid-19.
The clinic said in a Twitter post that it had informed Pence of its policy mandating mask before he toured the facility.
About a half hour after that tweet was posted, it was deleted by the Mayo Clinic.
Other video shows people wearing masks when they greeted Pence at an airport. The vice president was not wearing a mask when he got off his plane and headed to the Mayo Clinic.
While at the facility, Pence participated in a discussion with top doctors there, along with Minnesota Gov. Governor Tim Walz and Rep. Jim Hagedorn, a Republican whose district in Minnesota includes the city of Rochester.
Pence appeared to be the only official who participated in that discussion who did not wear a mask, according to a pool report.
On the same day that Pence visited the Mayo Clinic, the tally of Americans who have been diagnosed with with coronavirus infection topped 1 million. At least 57,266 Americans have died from Covid-19.
CNBC has requested comment from Pence’s office.
A Mayo Clinic spokesman, when asked for comment, said in email that, “Mayo shared the masking policy with the VP’s office.” The spokesman did not repond to the question of why the Mayo Clinic deleted its tweet about Pence.
Pence’s aides last week told The New York Times that he does not need to wear a mask because he is regularly tested for the coronavirus.
“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,” Pence’s spokeswoman, Katie Miller, told The Times. “Vice President Pence is negative for Covid-19 and is therefore not asymptomatic.”
But the newspaper noted that Pence could contract the virus between his tests, and that the tests are not always accurate.
In this pool image, Vice President Mike Pence Visits the Mayo Clinic Rochester Facilities, April 28, 2020.
Press Pool Video
Trump three weeks ago said that new guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged all Americans to wear masks in public settings, to help reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
“I just don’t want to wear one myself, it’s a recommendation,” Trump said at the time.
“Somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful Resolute Desk, the great Resolute Desk, I think wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, dictators, kings, queens, I don’t know, I don’t see it for myself.”
– Additional reporting by Tucker Higgins
This is breaking news. Check back for updates.