White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Vice President Mike Pence is able to continue campaigning because he is an essential worker, coming after his chief of staff tested positive for the CCP virus.
“Well, actually he’s not just campaigning, he’s working,” Meadows said on CNN Sunday morning while saying that Pence, who is in charge of the White House’s pandemic task force, is an essential worker.
Pence has tested negative for the virus, the White House said on Saturday. His chief of staff, Marc Short, and his adviser, Marty Obst, have tested positive for the virus, administration officials said. The White House later on Sunday confirmed three more staffers tested positive.
The White House also confirmed Pence will continue to campaign, with just over a week from the Nov. 3 election.
When Meadows was pressed again on Pence’s campaigning, “I’m not saying he’s not campaigning. I’m saying that is only part of what he’s doing,” he said in the Sunday interview. “As we look at that, essential personnel, whether it’s the vice president of the United States or anyone else, [have] to continue on,” Meadows added.
Citing the 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.”
In the interview, Meadows noted that due to the nature of the virus, which originated in China last year and causes the disease COVID-19, it’s quite difficult—possibly impossible—to control. He made the remark when asked about a rise in cases across the United States in recent days. Cases have also risen in Europe and other countries in recent weeks, prompting further lockdowns.
“We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics, and other mitigation areas,” Meadows said. COVID-19 “is a contagious virus just like the flu,” he said, adding that the White House is “making efforts to contain it.”