Veep vigorously defends his decision
As you all probably know by now, Vice President Mike Pence visited the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. During his visit, and in an earlier meeting with Minnesota governor, Tim Walz (D), Pence was the only person in the room not wearing a mask.
This despite instructions on the Mayo Clinic website requesting that all patients, visitors and personnel bring and wear a face mask to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
And despite the fact that the Mayo Clinic tweeted that it had “informed @VP of the masking policy prior to his arrival today.” (A tweet that was quickly taken down, probably to avoid the “wrath of Trump” and potential federal defunding.)
As Jennifer Rubin opined in today’s Washington Post:
“President Trump and his enablers displayed some of the worst of the worst behavior. team. Unfortunately, the clinic did not bar the vice president from the facility.
“Why would Pence act so recklessly, putting himself and caregivers in further danger? Well, Trump does not like the idea of wearing a mask so a sniveling sycophant probably wouldn’t want to be seen in one, either. It is difficult to fathom someone so weak in character as to endanger others because of his boss’s vanity.“
And from Karen Tumulty, also of the Post:
“…Beyond that, Pence’s bare face violated a recommendation by the federal government’s own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which states that masks are helpful in ‘public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.’ Like, say, a hospital.
So why didn’t the man who is leading the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic wear one? Was he worried that it looked undignified? Unmanly? Is a mask too uncomfortable? Not worth the bother?
“Or maybe he just forgot and left his at home. Though the clinic’s regulation notes: ‘If a patient or visitor does not have a mask, Mayo Clinic will provide one.’”
In his own insipid defense, Pence said this:
“In my role as vice president I’m tested for the coronavirus every day and literally everyone around me is tested on a regular basis,” going on to say, “And since I don’t have the coronavirus, I thought it’d 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.”
Some observers have suggested that Pence could have contracted the virus in between tests, so the guidance on face coverings would almost certainly still apply to him. The coronavirus test is also not infallible, so it’s still possible he could be an asymptomatic carrier.
But does the fact that he’s “tested every day” clear him? Not sure.
Of course, Pence’s every day testing does bring up another question: What’s the impact of all these tests beyond allowing him to flaunt the rules, be rude and disrespectful to others and, dare I say it, be “un-Christian” by not “Loving his neighbor as himself.”
So, I ran some numbers.
Let’s say Pence is surrounded by a not unreasonable 100 people. And let’s say Trump, who’s more important, is surrounded by 200 people and follows the same testing protocol. That would mean upwards of 300 associates of Trump and Pence are tested “every day.” And, let’s say this testing protocol has been in place since Trump declared a national emergency around March 15, 46 days ago. 300X46=13,800. That’s a lot of tests for only 300 people.
- Is Trump including these 13,800 (and climbing) tests to support his claim that the U.S. “leads the world in testing;” “has done more tests than anyone;” “that countries are calling to find out how we do it*”?
- Is the reason we don’t have enough tests for the rest of the country because we’ve already used 13,800 test kits on Trump, Pence and their cronies?
*In case you’re curious, the number is 1-800-USA-BEST ext COV-19. White House sources say he got the idea from watching an episode of “Better Call Saul.”