Mike Pence’s visit to the Mayo Clinic on Tuesday, in which the vice president neglected to wear a mask, has earned him a lot of detractors—and on Wednesday morning, David Letterman joined their ranks during an appearance on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM show.
The Mayo Clinic, headquartered in Rochester, Minnesota, requires all patients and visitors to wear masks—and in a since-deleted tweet, the clinic noted that Pence had been instructed to wear one prior to his visit.
“This is a particular a thorn in my side because [Pence] used to be the governor of Indiana,” Letterman, a native of the state himself, said Wednesday, as first reported by The Hollywood Reporter. “I had nothing to do with that.”
“If you’re going to the Mayo Clinic because you have COVID-19, you really have it,” Letterman added. “You’re not going up there because you like the turn-down service. And [Pence] goes up there, and he takes time off from his gig as a mannequin, and he’s walking around without a mask taunting these poor people who are bedridden and wearing a mask.”
Letterman noted that he personally knows people who have been hospitalized—including his former musical director Paul Shaffer’s wife.
“To me that's just taunting people who are ill,” Letterman added later. “To see that guy in his $40 suit walking through the Mayo Clinic without a mask.”
The backlash against Pence was swift following his Tuesday visit—including on late night. On The Daily Show, Trevor Noah said, “It seems like they told him to, and he didn’t want to wear a mask. So I guess he was just like, ‘It’s OK everybody, I don’t believe science.’”
“Dude, c’mon, what are you doing?! Wear a mask!” Noah added, as a photo of Pence in an S&M leather mask appeared on-screen. “We know you have one at home,” the host quipped.
Stern himself has sounded off on the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic as well. On Monday he responded to Donald Trump’s suggestion that people inject disinfectant as a potential coronavirus cure. “I would love it if Donald would get on TV and take an injection of Clorox and let’s see if his theory works,” Stern said. “Hold a big rally, say fuck this coronavirus, with all of his followers, and let them hug each other and kiss each other and have a big rally.”
And before he left the subject of Pence and the masks, Letterman added one more fun fact (or, I suppose we should say “allegation”): “I have a buddy of mine who works at the State Department, who’s in charge of semi-secret information,” Letterman said. “And he told me that this whole thing with Trumpy and the mask, he won’t wear a mask because they can’t figure out how to attach it to his hair.”