Vice President Pence Addresses Criticism for Not Wearing Mask at Mayo


Vice President Mike Pence visited the world-renowned Mayo Clinic Tuesday to discuss its fight against the coronavirus, but the media obsessed over the fact that he wasn’t wearing a mask.

“Pence under fire for going maskless at Mayo,” the Drudge Report declared. Late-night hosts piled on their usual scorn while various celebrities took to Twitter to express their outrage.

In defiance of clinic policy, the vice president was the only person not wearing a mask during the Tuesday tour of Mayo Clinic’s laboratories. The clinic put a policy in place earlier this month that requires all patients and visitors to wear a face mask and said in a now-deleted tweet that it informed Pence “of the masking policy prior to his arrival today.”

Vice President Pence explained his decision not to wear a mask during a media availability after the visit.

“As vice president of the United States, I’m tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis and everyone around me is tested for the coronavirus. The CDC issued guidelines about wearing a mask. It was their recognition that people who may have coronavirus could prevent the possibility of conveying the virus to someone else by wearing a mask,” said Pence.

“Since I don’t have the coronavirus, I thought it would 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,” he added.

The Star Tribune editorial board argued in a Wednesday article that Pence “should have worn a mask” and “Mayo should have insisted.”

“Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the Rochester, Minnesota medical center to laud its COVID-19 response garnered national coverage. What should have been a slam-dunk to polish Mayo’s trusted name instead raised unnecessary questions about its institutional values,” said the article.

The board took issue with Pence’s explanation for not wearing a mask, since coronavirus tests aren’t 100 percent accurate.

“But Mayo’s decision not to enforce its mask policy is even more disturbing. It has many prominent visitors and patients. Is there one set of rules for them and a different set for regular clients who don’t fly in on private jets?” the article continued. “It’s disappointing that this question even has to be raised.”

The Mayo Clinic expressed its gratitude to the vice president and Gov. Tim Walz for taking the time “to hear about our work fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“We look forward to continued collaboration to develop essential testing and treatment for our patients and communities,” said Mayo.

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Mike Pence Visiting Mayo Clinic” by the Mayo Clinic.







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