Pence Delayed AZ Trip After Eight Secret Service Agents Tested Positive For Coronavirus

Vice President Mike Pence attends a roundtable meeting on seniors with President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room at the White House on June 15, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
July 3, 2020 10:22 a.m.
EDITORS' NOTE: TPM is making our COVID-19 coverage free to all readers during this national health crisis. If you’d like to support TPM's reporters, editors and staff, the best way to do so is to become a member.

Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Arizona earlier this week was postponed by a day reportedly after several Secret Service agents in his detail tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Washington Post first reported the news on Thursday night. CNN reported the following morning that eight Secret Service agents in Pence’s detail tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of the VP’s Arizona trip.

According to the Post, citing two senior administration officials, Pence went to Phoenix on Wednesday  — instead of its originally scheduled Tuesday date — so that healthy agents could be deployed for his visit.

Pence’s Arizona trip came as the state emerged as a coronavirus hot spot in recent weeks, prompting the VP to scale back the trip prior to the delay in light of Arizona’s surge in coronavirus cases.

One administration official told the Post that members of Pence’s staff were concerned last weekend about whether it would be possible to hold planned public events in Tucson and Yuma amid Arizona’s spike in coronavirus cases. On Saturday, Pence’s staff decided to limit his visit only to Phoenix for a public health briefing with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) and local health care leaders.

Two administration officials told the Post that the Secret Service urged Pence on Monday night to delay his Arizona trip originally scheduled for Tuesday until Wednesday after at least one agent had a confirmed coronavirus case. Additionally, other agents and federal officers preparing for the Arizona trip were showing signs of illness.

Secret Service Director of Communications Catherine Milhoan told CNN in a statement on Friday that “the health and safety of our workforce, their families, and that of our protectees remains the agency’s highest priority” and that the agency “continues to operate in compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations through the U.S. Secret Service Office of Safety, Health and Environmental Programs.”

Secret Service agents testing positive for coronavirus ahead of Pence’s Arizona trip marks the second time in recent weeks that agents preparing for a White House or Trump campaign event outside Washington contracted the virus.

At least three Secret Service agents in the advance team for President Trump’s Tulsa rally last month tested positive for the coronavirus. Hour before the indoor Tulsa rally kicked off, two agents tested positive for the virus. Dozens of agents who worked during the rally were ordered to self-quarantine upon arriving home.

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world). (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
Latest News
Change to Commenting Permissions Starting May 1st

Beginning May 1, 2021, the option to comment on an article will be reserved only for TPM members. Non-members and those with free accounts will still be able to read comments both past and present, but will no longer be able to participate.

We hope that dedicated participants in the comments will join us as members, and want to make it as easy as possible for you to to so. We are offering 40% OFF an annual Prime membership to TPM readers with commenting accounts.

40% Off an Annual Prime Membership

We also offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: