Apr 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pence wears face mask during GM visit after Mayo Clinic backlash

Mike Pence
Screenshot: MSNBC.

Vice President Mike Pence wore a face mask while touring a General Motors plant in Kokomo, Indiana, on Thursday, after coming under fire for flouting the Mayo Clinic's mandatory face mask policy during a visit on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the first time that Pence, who has traveled all over the country as head of the White House's coronavirus task force, has publicly worn a face mask. The CDC issued guidance this month recommending that Americans wear face coverings to help stop the asymptomatic spread of the coronavirus.

  • Pence told reporters amid backlash on Tuesday that he had tested negative for the virus: "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 said.
  • Second lady Karen Pence insisted on Fox News on Thursday morning that Pence only found about the Mayo Clinic's policy after leaving the facility, despite the clinic saying in a statement that it had informed his office beforehand.

The big picture: The plant that Pence toured on Thursday was brought back online to help ramp up the production of ventilators. GM and its partner, Ventec Life Systems, have said they will ship more than 600 ventilators this month, and almost 15,000 by the end of June.

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