Vice President Mike Pence tweeted, and then deleted, a photo showing a group of President Donald Trump's reelection campaign staff ignoring coronavirus safety recommendations. Initially shared Wednesday night with the caption, "Stopped by to see the great men and women of the Trump-Pence Team today! Thank you for all of the hard work, keep it up," no one in the picture, including Pence, was wearing a mask or practicing safe social distancing. They also exceeded the 10-person gathering limit.
It now appears that Vice President Mike Pence, who chairs the White House Coronavirus Task force, has deleted this tweet, which features him greeting campaign staff while not observing social distancing guidelines or CDC guidelines to stem the transmission of Coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/2H2EqFlfuV— DJ Judd (@DJJudd) June 11, 2020
According to CNN, the image appears to be from the campaign's Arlington, Virginia, office. At this time, northern Virginia remains in phase one of its reopening, The Hill reports. Under this phase, people are encouraged to continue teleworking. For those businesses where telework "is not feasible," workstations should be temporarily moved or staggered to ensure six feet of separation between co-workers. Workers should also wear face coverings. The White House Coronavirus Task Force, headed by Pence, even recommends that people continue to practice social distancing and wear face coverings.
The White House and the Trump campaign have not yet responded to CNN's request for comment regarding the image, which follows several other instances of White House staff ignoring coronavirus safety guidelines. Pence himself has faced backlash on numerous occasions for seemingly ignoring his own recommendations.
Visiting the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in April, where he spoke with health care professionals and met with COVID-19 patients, the vice president opted to forgo a face covering. He was the only member of the visiting group not to wear one, despite the clinic’s requirement for "all patients, visitors and staff" to wear a face mask or covering. Pence later said that he was unaware of the policy and defended his lack of a face covering by stating that he is "tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis." He later admitted that he "should have worn a mask."
The Wednesday photo also followed the coronavirus making its way into the White House. Last month, a number of staffers tested positive for the virus, including one of the president's personal valets and Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller. Miller has since recovered and returned to work.