May 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Air Force Two delayed after Pence staffer tests positive for coronavirus

Vice President Mike Pence

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

DES MOINES — A second member of Vice President Pence’s staff tested positive for the coronavirus Friday, a day after a valet to President Trump did the same.

Why it matters: At a time when Trump is encouraging a brisk approach to reopening the economy, the results are a reminder that the virus remains widespread.  

The result delayed a Pence trip to Iowa by about an hour. Air Force Two idled at Andrews Air Force Base with the vice president aboard.

  • The person who tested positive wasn’t on the plane. But out of what a senior administration official called “an abundance of caution,” six aides who had been in recent contact with the person were asked to deplane, and remained in Washington.

Between the lines: The official, briefing reporters traveling with Pence, said the aide had not been in direct contact with Trump recently. The official wouldn’t comment on the person’s proximity to Pence, and wouldn’t give the person’s role.

  • Reflecting the increased frequency of testing inside the White House complex, the aide had tested negative the day before, then was swabbed again Friday.
  • Pence is now tested daily, including before leaving on the day-long trip, including a visit to a church.
  • A Pence aide who tested positive in March is now back at work, the official said. 

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