Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday refused to wear a mask during his visit to Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic, which requires all staff, patients, and visitors to wear a face covering while at the medical center. In a since-deleted tweet, the Mayo Clinic called out the veep, saying it “had informed @VP of the masking policy prior to his arrival today.” But that apparently didn’t stop Pence from visiting with staff and even a patient in a crowded hospital room without wearing a mask. “Part of our protocol for ensuring your safety is to require all patients, visitors and staff to wear a face covering or mask while at Mayo Clinic to guard against transmission of COVID-19,” the hospital’s website reads.
Speaking to reporters later on Tuesday, Pence said he was tested regularly for the virus, along with everyone around him, and he was following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. He said that, since he was virus-free, he thought it would be a “good opportunity” to speak to health-care workers and “look them in the eye and say thank you.” Pence has eschewed wearing a mask in public, following in the footsteps of President Trump, who declared earlier this month that he would probably not wear one even while announcing new CDC guidance recommending that citizens don face coverings to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.