Pence will ignore the CDC's recommended quarantine period to campaign after 5 aides test positive for COVID-19

Oma Seddiq
·3 min read
mike pence
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • Vice President Mike Pence will continue to campaign this week for President Donald Trump, despite his potential exposure to the coronavirus.

  • At least five of his advisers, including his chief of staff, have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days.

  • The CDC recommends a 14-day quarantine period to keep anyone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Vice President Mike Pence is sticking to his busy schedule eight days before the election despite his potential exposure to the coronavirus.

At least five of the vice president's advisers have tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, including his chief of staff, Marc Short, who he had been in "close contact" with. 

Yet the vice president refuses to self-quarantine. Instead, he plans to campaign for President Donald Trump and will travel to Minnesota for a rally on Monday, according to his agenda.

Pence may also preside over a Senate vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Monday.

"As vice president, I'm president of the Senate. And I'm going to be in the chair, because I wouldn't miss that vote for the world," he said at a rally in Tallahassee on Saturday. 

The vice president is expected to return to Washington, DC, on Monday evening in time for the vote, though an aide said he does not plan to attend, according to Politico

The campaigning decision defies public health guidelines that recommend anyone who may have been exposed to the virus to quarantine for 14 days. Many in the White House have come to Pence's defense to continue his job as an "essential worker." It's unclear whether campaigning constitutes the essential work CDC typically ascribes to first responders, health care workers, food workers, and others. 

"Just because there's a pandemic doesn't mean that we can stop," Trump adviser Jared Kushner said on Fox News on Monday. "The vice president obviously has great knowledge about the disease and the pandemic and he knows the right protocols to follow."

Pence is head of the White House coronavirus task force.

The vice president tested negative on Monday, per a statement from his office. However, health experts have cautioned that early testing can possibly produce false negatives. Without taking precautions, such as self-quarantining, he runs the risk of increased transmission.

The outbreak also highlights the White House's repeated dismissal of its own health guidelines and failure to control the virus. Earlier this month, Trump and several of his top aides tested positive for COVID-19. Most of them attended Barrett's Supreme Court nomination announcement on Sept. 26, an event that top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has called a "superspreader."  

Pence, who was also at the White House ceremony, ignored health recommendations at the time to quarantine afterward. 

The vice president's plan to campaign on Monday differs from the approach taken by his 2020 Democratic opponent, Sen. Kamala Harris, earlier this month. After two people traveling within her party tested positive, the Biden campaign announced a three-day suspension to in-person campaigning for Harris "out of an abundance of caution."

Pence's push to remain on the campaign trail comes as Trump lags behind Democratic candidate Joe Biden in national polls. 

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