White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Sunday defended Vice President Mike Pence for continuing to hit the campaign trail after five of his aides tested positive for the coronavirus — saying he is “essential personnel.”
CNN’s Jake Tapper noted that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines call for Pence to be quarantined for 14 days and questioned why he is still continuing to criss-cross the country campaigning.
“Actually he’s not just campaigning, he’s working. We saw a Middle East peace agreement with Sudan in the Oval Office that the President engaged in,” Meadows said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” referring to last week’s announcement that Sudan and Israel will normalize relations.
“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,” Meadows said.
He said Pence is actually considered an essential worker and will continue to make campaign appearances.
“I’m not saying he’s not campaigning. I’m saying that is only part of what he’s doing,” Meadows said of Trump. “As we look at that, essential personnel, whether it’s the vice president of the United States or anyone else, has to continue on.”
He said he talked to Pence and the vice president reassured him that he is taking precautions at the rallies after the aides, including chief of staff Marc Short and senior adviser Marty Obst, tested positive.
“I can tell you that what he’s doing is wearing a mask, socially distancing and when he goes up to speak he will take the mask off, put it back on,” he said.
Corey Lewandowski, an adviser to the Trump campaign, also said he was sure Pence was taking the necessary precautions – and compared them with those taken by Joe Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris.
“We have also seen Kamala Harris’ team come down with Covid and she took the necessary precautions,” Lewandowski said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press”.
Her campaign halted travel for four days after two of her staffers were diagnosed with the coronavirus.
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