Second lady Karen Pence claimed on Thursday that Vice President Mike Pence didn’t know the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota required everyone at the clinic to wear masks when he toured the facility earlier this week.
The second lady told Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt that her husband, the head of the White House’s COVID-19 task force, hadn’t worn a mask on Tuesday because he previously tested negative for the virus, and so he believed the mask was not necessary.
“It was actually after he left Mayo Clinic that he found out they had a policy of asking everyone to wear a mask,” Karen Pence said.
“Someone has worked on this whole task force for over two months is not someone who would have done anything to offend anyone or hurt anyone or scare anyone,” she added.
But Karen Pence’s claim doesn’t quite square with Mayo’s response to the controversy.
Several hours after images of the vice president at the clinic with an uncovered face went viral, the clinic tweeted, then deleted, a post saying that it had informed the vice president of the policy “prior to his arrival.”
Though the tweet was deleted, a Mayo spokesperson reaffirmed that same day that the vice president’s office had been told about the requirement.
“Mayo shared the masking policy with the VP’s office,” a spokesperson said in a statement shared with several news outlets.
In what appeared to be a lesson-learned, Pence showed up at a General Motors Plant in Kokomo, Indiana on Thursday wearing a mask.
Vice President Pence Visits General Motors Plant in Kokomo, IN pic.twitter.com/r4qesue3is
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) April 30, 2020
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone wear masks, even if they believe they don’t have COVID-19, because there is a risk in asymptomatic people unwittingly transmitting the virus.
Yet President Donald Trump has refused to do so.
“I just don’t want to wear one myself,” Trump said in early April. “It’s a recommendation.”
Watch the second lady below:
Karen Pence says VP didn't know about Mayo Clinic's mask policy when he visited it. pic.twitter.com/k5tNO5kBHc
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) April 30, 2020