Another member of Vice President Mike Pence's team has tested positive for COVID-19. The Washington Post reported that Pence's personal assistant, known as a "body man" who accompanies the vice president throughout the day, tested positive for COVID-19. According to ABC News, Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, and several other team members have also tested positive for COVID-19. The news comes several weeks after numerous President Donald Trump's team members tested positive for the illness, including the president, First Lady Melania Trump, former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
On Saturday, Pence's press secretary Devin O'Malley released a statement about this outbreak within the vice president's team. His statement began, "Today, Marc Short, Chief of Staff to the Vice President, tested positive for COVID-19, began quarantine and assisting in the contact tracing process." Both Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, have since tested negative for COVID-19. They reportedly tested negative as of Sunday morning. Even though the vice president has been in close contact with Short and his assistant, he will continue to be on the campaign trail in the days leading up to the Nov. 3 election. O'Malley's statement continued, "While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the Vice President will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel."
In addition to Short, four other members of Pence's staff have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, including political aide Marty Obst. One source told ABC News that three of those staffers have been quarantining since the middle of this past week. There has yet to be any official word from the White House medical unit on this matter. Although, two White House sources said that Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, tried to keep the news of this outbreak amongst Pence's staff from going public. During an appearance on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday, Meadows addressed this matter, as he said, "Sharing personal information is not something that we should do, not something that we do actually do unless it's the vice president or the president or someone that is very close to them where there is people in harm's way. Listen. Any time that there is someone in harm's way, we have an obligation to let people know to contact trace. We have done that."
Many have been critical of Pence's decision to continue working even though he was in close contact with multiple people who have tested positive for COVID-19. The vice president is the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Since he holds that position, many call for him to lead by example and act out of an abundance of caution, particularly amidst a time when coronavirus cases are surging across the country.