Pence chief of staff Marc Short and adviser Marty Obst tested positive for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, the White House confirmed. The three other people who have tested positive haven’t been identified.
Pence and his wife, Karen, both have tested negative for the virus, a spokesman says.
On Oct. 25, Pence’s office, in confirming the new cases to Fox News, said the vice president will continue to campaign. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows defended the decision, arguing that Pence is an essential worker.
“Well, actually he’s not just campaigning, he’s working,” Meadows said on CNN on Oct. 25, while saying that Pence, who’s in charge of the White House’s pandemic task force, is an essential worker.
“I’m not saying he’s not campaigning. I’m saying that is only part of what he’s doing,” Meadows said in the interview. “As we look at that, essential personnel, whether it’s the vice president of the United States or anyone else, has to continue on.”
Citing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines about essential workers, Meadows said Pence is an essential government employee who can do his job while wearing a mask.
“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. “He is wearing a mask as it relates to this particular thing because the doctors have advised him to do that.”
Democratic officials seized on the COVID-19 diagnoses in the White House on Oct. 25.
“If Donald Trump and Mike Pence won’t even take the necessary steps to protect their own staff from the virus, how can North Carolinians trust them to protect the rest of us?” North Carolina Democratic Party Chair Wayne Goodwin said in a statement. “A visit from Mike Pence to give a speech full of empty campaign promises isn’t going to mean anything to Lenoir County residents after the Trump-Pence administration has already proven they can’t deliver.”
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the virus on Oct. 2. Trump has since recovered and has resumed campaigning, while the first lady made her first public appearance sincs then last week.
White House adviser Hope Hicks, former Republican Gov. Chris Christie, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and others have also tested positive for the virus; all have since recovered.