News, Culture & Society

Mike Pence returns to the White House despite coronavirus exposure

Mike Pence was set to return to the White House Monday after as aides Secret Service agents are set to begin new precautions after a top aide to the vice president tested positive for the coronavirus. 

Pence ‘has tested negative every single day and plans to be at the White House tomorrow,’ spokesman Devin O’Malley said in a statement Sunday. 

Pence ‘will continue to follow the advice of the White House Medical Unit and is not in quarantine,’ according to O’Malley.

Mike Pence was set to return to the White House Monday. On Friday, a top aide to the vice president tested positive for the coronavirus

Pence’s motorcade had not been spotted early Monday morning. He holds a late morning call with governors about the coronavirus. 

President Trump revealed Friday that Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive for the coronavirus. Pence and his team learned about the test shortly before he was to fly to Iowa for an event – an event he undertook without a mask.  

The Secret Service agents charged with safeguarding President Donald Trump will finally begin wearing protective masks – even as the president himself continues to shy from the practice. 

The agents are among many people who work in the White House complex who are preparing to undertake new precautions after two people who work there tested positive for the virus – as a senior official admitted it was ‘scary’ to go and work at the building.

White House aides – almost all of whom have declined to wear masks even as the White House and the Centers for Disease Control encouraged Americans to start using them – may now undertake new social distancing measures while at work, ABC News reported. 

President Donald Trump arrives in Phoenix, Tuesday, May 5, 2020 where he will speak during a roundtable on supporting Native Americans and participate in a tour of a Honeywell International plant that manufactures personal protective equipment. Agents who protect Trump are expected to start wearing masks

President Donald Trump arrives in Phoenix, Tuesday, May 5, 2020 where he will speak during a roundtable on supporting Native Americans and participate in a tour of a Honeywell International plant that manufactures personal protective equipment. Agents who protect Trump are expected to start wearing masks

Agents who are close to the president or who are near the Oval Office will don the masks, according to the report – which follows news that a valet who has been in close proximity to Trump tested positive for the coronavirus.  

A measure under consideration is to have White House aides stand six feet apart, a key CDC recommendation to prevent the spread of the virus – including during their meetings with the president. 

People scheduled to meet with Trump will continue to be tested, as will a list of more than a dozen people.

For weeks, outsiders who came to the White House to meet with Trump have been tested. Reporters who attend White House briefings were tested on one occasion, but now must undergo only temperature checks before participating and entering the White House complex.  

One of Donald Trump’s top economic advisers admitted Sunday that it’s ‘scary’ to think about going back to work, voicing his own concerns about working at the White House in the midst of the pandemic.

‘It is scary to go to work,’ Kevin Hassett told CBS News Sunday morning. ‘I think that I’d be a lot safer if I was sitting at home than I would be going to the West Wing. But, you know, it’s the time when people have to step up and serve their country.’

The comments come after one of Trump’s personal valets and Vice President Mike Pence’s spokeswoman, Katie Miller, both tested positive for coronavirus.

Several administration and task force officials, including top immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn and the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, are quarantining after potential exposure to the disease. 

Even amid growing infection rates and deaths across the country, White House officials have avoided embracing mask protocols. Last Tuesday, when Trump flew to Arizona, aides including Hope Hicks, Jared Kushner, and Dan Scavino walked closely off Marine One without wearing masks.

Trump notably didn’t wear a mask when visiting a Honeywell-operated mask factory on the trip. A group of more than 20 White House officials went to watch Trump’s departure, and were bunched closely together without wearing masks. 

Top White House Economic Advisor Kevin Hassett admitted Sunday that he's scared to go to work. 'It is scary to go to work,' he said. 'I think that I'd be a lot safer if I was sitting at home than I would be going to the West Wing'

Top White House Economic Advisor Kevin Hassett admitted Sunday that he’s scared to go to work. ‘It is scary to go to work,’ he said. ‘I think that I’d be a lot safer if I was sitting at home than I would be going to the West Wing’

The comments came after Vice President Mike Pence's Spokeswoman Katie Miller (pictured) and one of the president's personal Navy valets both tested positive for coronavirus

The comments came after Vice President Mike Pence’s Spokeswoman Katie Miller (pictured) and one of the president’s personal Navy valets both tested positive for coronavirus

The comments also come as some states begin easing lockdown restrictions and allow  non-essential businesses to reopen and people to go back to work

The comments also come as some states begin easing lockdown restrictions and allow  non-essential businesses to reopen and people to go back to work

No state is fully reopened yet, but many counties are well on their way to fully ending stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines

No state is fully reopened yet, but many counties are well on their way to fully ending stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines

‘Do you wear a mask? Are you going to continue to show up for work at the White House?’ CBS News’ Margaret Brennan posed to Hassett as Trump continues to face criticisms for not wearing a mask in public.

Reporters at White House briefings are now required to wear masks.

‘I’ve got a mask right here,’ he said. ‘And the fact is that I practice aggressive social distancing. I’ll wear a mask when I feel it’s necessary.’

Hassett acknowledged that it is ‘risky’ to work in the West Wing because it is a ‘small, crowded place.’ 

The economic adviser’s admission of fear also comes as several states have begun to implement the easing of lockdown and stay-at-home restrictions.

At local levels, some states, counties and localities have decided to begin reopening by permitting non-essential businesses to operate and opening up areas that were shutdown to maintain social distancing guidelines – like beaches, golf courses and marinas.

Hassett also suggested in his interview Sunday that it was ‘wishful thinking’ when he said Friday the job market could rebound in six months’ time.

‘Nobody knows it,’ Kevin Hassett told CBS News Sunday morning when asked about the ‘silver lining’ he proposed two days ago in front of the president. ‘And, you know, and it’s very unsatisfying.’

The claim comes as new numbers released last week showed in the past two months, more than 33 million people have filed for unemployment benefits after losing their jobs or being furloughed.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.