By: Abigail Calandra| Head Editor
May 1, 2020
On Tuesday, April 28, Vice President Mike Pence visited the Mayo Clinic without a face mask, despite clinic policy since April 13.
The clinic, in a Twitter post that was quickly deleted, stated “Mayo Clinic had informed @VP of the masking policy prior to his arrival today.”
Everyone who was traveling with the VP, including reporters and Food and Drug head Dr. Stephan Hahn, wore masks. The clinic even said they would provide guests with masks.
Pence’s spokesperson, Katie Miller, said Wednesday that it was not a mistake for the VP to forgo wearing a mask while touring the clinic. He did refrain from shaking hands with doctors and officials, instead he elbow bumped. However, Pence did speak to a clinic employee who was donating plasma after being diagnosed with Covid-19 at the end of March.
The VP explained that he didn’t feel it necessary for him to wear a mask because he is tested for Covid-19 regularly.
Pence told reporters “Since I don’t have the coronavirus, I thought it would 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.”
Pence was widely mocked for his statement that suggested wearing a mask would hinder his ability to look workers in the eye. He was also criticized by healthcare professionals for disregarding safety regulations and for sending the wrong message towards federal guidelines he regularly touts.
“Pence’s actions go directly against all sound advice and contradict the medical efforts of the Mayo Clinic,” San Clemente High School senior Connor Morin said. “It is irresponsible for him and the people around him, but also sets a dangerous precedent for the public to follow.”
The guidance is recommended by the Trump Administration, but the President has repeatedly announced that they are not mandatory and he will not comply, suggesting that complying with federal recommendations was unpresidential and difficult for him to envision
“I feel like it contradicts everything going on and is arrogant, like he thinks he doesn’t need a mask because he’s a person of authority and doesn’t need to follow the same rules as everyone else,” SCHS senior Sydney Belden said. “He’s supposed to be a role model for a lot of people in this time and he’s not following a simple guideline for safety.”
President Trump stated, “I don’t think I’m going to do it… Wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens– I just don’t see it.”
After the Mayo Clinic deleted their original tweet, a new one was posted thanking the VP for his visit stating, “We look forward to continued collaboration to develop essential testing and treatment for our patients and communities.”