Vice President Mike Pence refused to wear a mask on Tuesday at the Mayo Clinic. 

The clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has a policy that requires all visitors to wear a mask in light of the coronavirus pandemic and made the rule known to the vice president. 

In a tweet that has since been deleted, the Mayo Clinic said, “Mayo Clinic had informed @VP of the masking policy prior to his arrival today.”

Everyone who was traveling with the Vice President had a mask on according to reporters. Pence’s team was briefed by the Mayo Clinic days before the visit about using masks according to a person involved in planning the trip. When Pence arrived, they also had a mask ready for the group. 

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Kate Miller, Pence’s spokesperson, told CNN, “We don’t feel it was a mistake.” 

Pence told reporters that the reason for not wearing a mask was because he’s often tested for the virus. 

“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 said. 

“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,” he said.

The Mayo Clinic’s new policy announced on April 13 that “all patients and visitors to wear a face covering or mask to help slow the spread of COVID-19” regardless if they’ve been tested for the coronavirus. 

“Patients and visitors are asked to bring their own face covering or mask to wear. If a patient or visitor does not have a mask, Mayo Clinic will provide one,” the website says.


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