Oct 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pence defends hosting Amy Coney Barrett Rose Garden ceremony during pandemic

Vice President Pence defended the White House's decision to hold a large event in the Rose Garden to introduce Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett at Wednesday's vice presidential debate, noting that it was outdoors and "many people" were tested for the coronavirus beforehand.

Why it matters: Multiple people who attended the event later tested positive for the virus, including President Trump, first lady Melania Trump, multiple aides to the president and two Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

  • Though it was an outdoor event, members of the audience sat cramped together and many did not wear masks.
  • The White House also hosted indoor receptions before and after the ceremony in which guests did not wear masks.

What they're saying: "My wife Karen and I were there, and honored to be there," Pence said. "Many of the people who were at that event actually were tested for coronavirus, and it was an outdoor event, which all of our scientists regularly and routinely advise."

The big picture: Pence was asked how the administration expects the American people to follow health guidelines when the White House does not follow its own safety guidelines.

  • Pence did not comment on the White House's observation of health guidelines, but praised Americans for putting "the health of their families and their neighbors and people they don't even know first."
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