Vice President Mike Pence visited a nursing home facility in Alexandria, Virginia Thursday and was caught on camera helping to deliver boxes of personal protective equipment from FEMA. During Thursday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the comedian suggested the video showed Pence delivering empty boxes because of a joke the former Indiana governor made. This was not the case though, as the full video shows Pence taking off boxes with a service member's help that clearly had some weight to them.
Pence visited Woodbine Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in Alexandria with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Seema Verma and Navy Rear Admiral John Polowczyk, vice director of logistics for the military, reports BuzzFeed. Pence greeted nursing home administrators while staying six feet away, following social distancing guidelines. He also helped bring boxes of PPE from a van to the facility's entrance.
After emptying out the van, Pence is told the remaining boxes are empty. "Well, can I carry the empty ones? Just for the camera?" Pence is heard asking. Kimmel took this to mean that all the boxes Pence took to the door were empty, although that is not the case.
"Since it was going so well and also because he didn't realize he had a mic on, Magic Mike decided to keep it going. Listen in closely here," Kimmel said in his Thursday monologue. After playing the clip, Kimmel added, "Mike Pence pretending to carry a big box of PPEs into a hospital is the perfect metaphor for who he is and what he's doing: a big box of nothing, delivering another box of nothing."
By Friday morning, Kimmel's monologue had gone viral. ABC, which airs Kimmel's show, deleted the clip. However, another tweet with the clip went viral as well, with the writer suggesting Pence was "caught on hot mic delivering empty boxes." Kimmel shared this tweet, and added an apology.
"It would appear that [Pence] was joking about carrying empty boxes for a staged publicity stunt," the comedian wrote. "The full video reveals that he was carrying full boxes for a staged publicity stunt. My apologies. I know how dearly this administration values truth."0comments
According to press pool following Pence, the boxes Pence helped deliver included 137 pairs of eye protection, 1,267 masks, and 5,800 pairs of gloves. Pence campaign spokesperson Jon Thompson also blasted Kimmel on Twitter, writing, "This is absolute garbage spread by @JimmyKimmel. Pence is clearly joking about empty boxes & if Kimmel showed the full clip from CSPAN, not the one he selectively edited, you see and hear it."
On Friday, Bloomberg reported one of Pence's staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. President Donald Trump later identified the staffer as "Katie." The only member of Pence's staff named Katie is his press secretary, Katie Miller, the wife of Trump adviser Stephen Miller, known for his support of strict immigration policies. Miller is the second White House aide to test positive for the coronavirus this week.