Pence not wearing mask during Mayo clinic visit speaks to ‘anything but Biden’ news cycle

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When the media is obsessed with whether Vice President Mike Pence is wearing a face mask or not, this may be an early indication that the COVID-19 pandemic toll is beginning to wane.

The vice president visited the Mayo Clinic on Tuesday and was seen touring the facility without wearing a mask — he would later explain to reporters that as vice president, he is regularly tested for COVID-19 and does not have the virus.

Still, the media eagerly reported that the Mayo Clinic requires all patients, visitors and staff to wear a face-covering or mask to slow the spread of COVID-19.

NBC News reported the Mayo Clinic posted a tweet while Pence “was still inside” that stated: “Mayo Clinic had informed @VP of the masking policy prior to his arrival today.”

The tweet was reportedly deleted afterward.

The anti-Trump network CNN rolled out former Bush White House medical advisor Dr. Jonathan Reiner to denounce Pence for the decision.

“Wow. So wrong, so tone-deaf,” he pontificated. “Look, first of all, on one level this is just another in a series of mixed messages that we have gotten from the White House about this crisis. We tell the public that we want you to wear mask when you go out in public and now the vice president shows up at a hospital and refuses to wear a mask.”

 

“We saw today that Jet Blue is going to require all passengers to wear a mask,” Reiner added, “But yet the Vice President of the United States goes to a hospital and doesn’t wear a mask.”

The cardiologist noted that he was in a hospital the night before for an emergency procedure.

“Every second in the hospital, I wore a mask,” he said. “Most of the time when I wasn’t in the presence of a patient and I wore the mask and we wear the mask every time we’re in the hospital, all the time we’re in the hospital to protect our colleagues. When we tell a patient — when we tell the community to wear a mask, we’re telling them to protect their neighbors, the old lady that lives next door, the man down the street. You wear a mask to protect the community.”

To protect the community from further spreading the COVID-19 virus — which Pence does not have.

Speaking to reporters afterward, the vice president offered up his reasoning for not donning a mask, which included being able to look medical personnel “in the eye.”

 

“As vice president of the United States I’m tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus,” he told reporters. “And when the CDC issued guidelines about wearing a mask, it was their recognition that people that may have the coronavirus could prevent the possibility of conveying the virus to someone else by wearing a mask.

“And since I don’t have the coronavirus, I thought it’d be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers, these incredible health care personnel, and look them in the eye and say thank you.”

The remark prompted CNN’s Chris Cuomo to say, “Does the mask cover your eyes?”

He dedicated an entire segment to the story, bringing on Dr. Sanjay Gupta to refute the testing defense.

“Look, I’m not into the gotcha game. I think it’s a waste of time, I think people are turned off by it, but all I’m saying is at some point, you’ve got to start being able to take any kind of responsibility for anything that’s negative at some point,” Cuomo said. “I mean, this administration has never done a damn thing wrong, ever, and they just can’t own it.”

Even more remarkable than the quest to demean the Trump administration was the media’s fixation on the story compared to the reaction to a persistent story of sexual abuse allegations being leveled against 2020 presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden by a former Senate staffer.

As “freethinker” Robby Starbuck noted, “That’s how deep their bias is.”

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Tom Tillison

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