Pence Shook Hands With Cadets Just Days Before One Student Was Quarantined

Vice President Mike Pence speaks following his tour of the U.S. Navy Hospital Ship USNS Comfort on June 18, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images)
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March 3, 2020 12:53 p.m.
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Vice President Mike Pence shook hands with Sarasota Military Academy cadets in Florida several days before one of their classmates was quarantined due to potential contact with COVID-19. The now-quarantined student was not at the event.

The academy announced via Facebook on Monday that the cadet and his mother had been quarantined “as a precautionary measure” after the mother, who works at Sarasota Doctors Hospital, made contact with one of the two patients in Florida who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The academy reported that both the student and his mother “currently are not showing any symptoms and are in good health and spirits.”

On the previous Friday, Pence had visited the academy and shook hands with the senior cadets.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune was the first to report on the student.

When reached by TPM on Tuesday, Pence spokesperson Katie Miller pointed TPM to her Tuesday morning tweet.

“Can we all take a deep breath? @Mike_Pence did not meet or come into contact at all with this student,” Miller wrote.

President Donald Trump appointed Pence to lead the administration’s response to the coronavirus, which has already led to the deaths of six people in the U.S.

The vice president acknowledged on Monday that there would be “more cases” of the virus after the administration had repeatedly downplayed the threat of the deadly illness in a transparent effort to calm the plunging stock market and shield Trump from criticism of his floundering response to the spreading disease.

In fact, public health officials have been ordered to have their statements on COVID-19 screened by Pence before informing the public of any updates on the outbreak.

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