Vice President Mike Pence is supposedly in charge of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and what a fine job he has been doing. If this is success, what does failure look like?
The New York Times reported Sunday that Members of Pence’s Inner Circle Test Positive for Coronavirus:
Several members of Vice President Mike Pence’s inner circle, including at least four members of his staff, have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past few days, people briefed on the matter said, raising new questions about the safety protocols at the White House, where masks are not routinely worn.
Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for Mr. Pence, said that the vice president’s chief of staff, Marc Short, had tested positive. A person briefed on the diagnosis said he received it on Saturday.
A Trump adviser briefed on the outbreak, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said that Marty Obst, a Pence adviser, also recently tested positive. Mr. Obst’s positive result was earlier in the week.
A third person briefed on the developments, who also was not authorized to speak publicly, said that three additional Pence staff members had tested positive. Mr. O’Malley did not immediately respond to a question about others who had tested positive.
That’s five, count ’em, five.
UPDATE: Oops, he did it again! That now makes six. Pence’s personal aide tests positive for coronavirus:
A personal aide to Pence — known informally as a “body man” who accompanies the Vice President throughout his day — has also contracted the novel coronavirus, two officials said Sunday.
Pence is regularly in sustained close contact with the aide, who travels with him on Air Force Two and accompanies him for much of his day in the White House complex.
An official familiar said the personal aide tested positive while in quarantine, which he began on Tuesday after having close contact with Marty Obst, Pence’s political adviser who also tested positive Tuesday.
“While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the vice president will maintain his schedule in accordance with the C.D.C. guidelines for essential personnel,” Mr. O’Malley said on Saturday.
[Note the qualification “essential personnel”; otherwise the Lord of The Flies should quarantine for 14 days under the CDC guidelines].
The statement did not come from the White House medical unit, but instead from a press aide. Two people briefed on the matter said that the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, had sought to keep news of the outbreak from becoming public.
The decision by Mr. Pence, who leads the White House Coronavirus Task Force, to continue campaigning is certain to raise new questions about how seriously the White House is taking the risks to their own staff members and the public from the pandemic that has killed more than 224,000 people in the United States. Mr. Short has been among those within the White House who have questioned the extensive lockdowns across the country.
White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows appeared on CNN’s State of The Union with Jake Tapper and was asked about his attempt to cover-up the coronavirus outbreak in the Vice President’s staff. White House Calls Pence An ‘Essential Worker’ To Justify Him Campaigning In Violation Of CDC Guidelines:
Here’s the testy exchange during Meadows’ appearance on this Sunday’s State of the Union.
TAPPER: Marc Short has been in close contact with Vice President Pence. They are always with each other. Short is now positive for the virus.
MEADOWS: That’s correct.
TAPPER: So CDC guidelines say that Vice President Pence should quarantine for 14 days. Now I understand the White House is trying to get around that by saying the vice president is an essential worker. But Mark, how is going all over the country, how is that—campaigning—how is that essential work? It’s not like he’s helping to contain the virus. In fact, the opposite. He’s holding rallies that could be spreading the virus.
MEADOWS: Well, actually, he’s not just campaigning. He’s working. We saw a Middle East peace agreement with Sudan in the Oval Office the president engaged in. And for anybody to suggest that the president has been out campaigning and not getting things done, all you have to do is look at the facts.
TAPPER: He was at a campaign rally in Tallahassee. He was just at a campaign rally in Tallahassee.
MEADOWS: I’m not saying he is not campaigning. I’m saying that is only part of what he is doing and as we look at that, essential personnel, whether it’s the vice president of the United States or anyone else, has to continue –
TAPPER: But he’s not following CDC guidelines.
MEADOWS: Jake, CDC guidelines does say essential personnel.
TAPPER: Yes, it says wear a mask, if they wear a mask.
MEADOWS: And I spoke to the vice president last night at midnight and I can tell you that what he is doing is wearing a mask, socially distancing and when he goes up to speak he will take the mask off and put it back on.
But he’s wearing a mask as it relates to this particular thing because the doctors have advised him to do that. And so, Jake, when we start to look at this, you know, here is where we really need to make sure. On your website yesterday, Jake, you know, your website is talking about well now we think the spread is coming from small social groups and family groups. First it was large groups. Now it’s small groups.
TAPPER: It’s coming from all sorts of places because the pandemic is out of control.
MEADOWS: So here’s what we have to do. We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigations —
TAPPER: Why aren’t we going to get control of the pandemic?
MEADOWS: Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu.
TAPPER: Yeah, but why not make efforts to contain it?
MEADOWS: Well we are making efforts to contain it.
TAPPER: By running all over the country not wearing a mask? That’s what vice president is doing.
MEADOWS: Let me just say this. What we need to do is make sure that we have the proper mitigation factors, whether it’s therapies or vaccines or treatments, to make sure that people don’t die from this. But to suggest that we are going to actually quarantine all of America —
TAPPER: No one’s saying that.
For those trying to keep count, that makes 40 positive cases in 4 weeks for this White House.
📍Update—40 positive 4 week WH-orbit #COVID19–2 new* Pence aides:
2x mil aides
4x WH press aides
1x Jr staffer
11x debate staff pic.twitter.com/MTLdD2XLC0
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) October 25, 2020
The Joe Biden campaign had a response to Mark Meadows’ interview with Jake Tapper. Joe Biden Tears Trump And Pence A New One For Giving Up On The Pandemic:
The Biden campaign said in a statement provided to PoliticusUSA:
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows stunningly admitted this morning that the administration has given up on even trying to control this pandemic, that they’ve given up on their basic duty to protect the American people. This wasn’t a slip by Meadows, it was a candid acknowledgment of what President Trump’s strategy has clearly been from the beginning of this crisis: to wave the white flag of defeat and hope that by ignoring it, the virus would simply go away. It hasn’t, and it won’t.
It’s sadly no surprise then that this virus continues to rage unchecked across the country and even in the White House itself. The grim reality is that we continue to set records for new cases, and the fact that the head of the White House’s coronavirus task force has an outbreak in his office and yet still refuses to follow CDC guidelines shows us exactly why. It is particularly outrageous when the science tells us that if we just took basic precautions now, we could save thousands of lives. For example, the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has said that universal masking could save around 100,000 lives over the next few months. It’s long past time for President Trump and his administration to listen to the scientists, take action, and finally take seriously the threat of a virus that’s costing thousands of lives each week, shuttering our schools, and forcing millions of Americans out of work.
If Donald Trump loses this election in November, he and Mike Pence should resign immediately and allow the Biden-Harris team to take over right away. We might actually save one to two hundred thousand lives over the holiday season if these incompetent fools who are hellbent on infecting millions of Americans with the virus would just get the hell out of the way of the science and let the professionals run the pandemic response.
These fools are criminally negligent and should be charged with negligent homicide. They have blood on their hands.