Mike Pence triggered a storm of controversy on Tuesday by failing to wear a face mask on a visit to the Mayo Clinic’s facilities in Minnesota.
Pence leads the US government’s coronavirus taskforce though he is typically overshadowed by Donald Trump, or medical experts, at the group’s regular press briefings.
Video from a journalist pool camera at the Mayo Clinic showed Pence visiting the facility and 10 people in the area around Pence, including a patient, wearing masks. Pence was not wearing one.
On its website the Mayo Clinic advises: “Mayo Clinic is requiring all patients, visitors and staff to wear a face covering or mask to slow the spread of Covid-19.”
In response to widespread online condemnation of Pence’s decision not to wear a mask, the Mayo Clinic tweeted that it had informed Pence of its mask policy prior to his arrival. The tweet was later deleted.
The Democratic senator Brian Schatz from Hawaii criticized Pence for not wearing a mask, saying the vice-president was “setting a dangerous example” by not covering his face.
Brian Schatz (@brianschatz)
When you don't wear a mask, especially inside the Mayo Clinic, you are not being brave. You are showing that you think the rules don't apply to you. And you are setting a dangerous example by ignoring experts. April 28, 2020