Reporter who contradicted Mike Pence's wife on face mask dispute banned from future trips

‘All of us who travelled with him were notified by the office of VP the day before the trip that wearing of masks was required’

James Crump
Friday 01 May 2020 16:42
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Mike Pence's wife says he was 'unaware' of Mayo mask policy despite clinic claiming to have told VP office.mp4

A journalist has been banned from taking trips with Mike Pence, after he contradicted the vice president’s wife, Karen Pence, over claims he had been told to wear a face mask at the Mayo Clinic.

The vice president was widely criticised on Wednesday for not wearing a mask on a visit to the hospital, despite the clinic publicly saying they had told him it was a requirement at the facility.​

Voice of America journalist, Steve Herman, tweeted that the vice president’s office had informed all the journalists at the visit that they needed to wear a mask.​

“All of us who travelled with him were notified by the office of @VP the day before the trip that wearing of masks was required by the @MayoClinic and to prepare accordingly,” he tweeted.

Although he was initially told he was banned from future trips, for revealing information that was intended for planning purposes, Mr Pence’s office later told Mr Herman that his ban can be lifted if he or the organisation apologise for the tweet, according to HuffPost.

The Washington Post obtained a copy of a letter that was sent to the journalists on the trip, which said masks were a requirement.

“Please note, the Mayo Clinic is requiring [that] all individuals travelling with the VP wear masks,” it read. “Please bring one to wear while on the trip.”

During an appearance on Fox and Friends, Ms Pence said that it “was actually after he left Mayo Clinic that he found out that they had a policy of asking everyone to wear a mask.”

In a now deleted tweet, the clinic contradicted these claims, and said that officials had told Mr Pence prior to his visit that a face mask is a requirement at the facility.

“Mayo Clinic had informed @VP of the masking policy prior to his arrival today,” the tweet read.

After they deleted the tweet, the clinic released a statement where they reiterated their claims: “Mayo shared the masking policy with the VP’s office.”

Mr Pence told reporters after the visit that because he has tested negative for the virus, he does not need to wear a face mask.

“As Vice President of the United States I’m tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus,” he said.

“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,” he added.

According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, there are now upwards of one million people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached at least 61,288.

The Independent has reached out to Mr Pence’s team for comment.

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