Critics ripped Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday after he refused to wear a mask in a visit to the Mayo Clinic, accusing Pence of being a fake tough guy who unnecessarily put people in danger while setting a terrible example because the vice president lives in fear of doing anything that could anger President Donald Trump.
Pence’s critics piled on even more after Pence, who heads the coronavirus task force, later said he did not wear a mask because he was being regularly tested for the coronavirus and wanted to look people in the eye.
In a recent New Yorker feature examining the different coronavirus outcomes in Seattle and New York, Dr. Richard Besser–the former acting director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention who also trained with the Epidemic Intelligence Service–stressed the importance of not having mixed messages coming from the top during a pandemic.
“To maintain trust, you have to be as honest as possible, and make damn sure that everyone walks the walk,” Besser told the outlet. “If we order people to wear masks, then every C.D.C. official must wear a mask in public. If we order hand washing, then we let the cameras see us washing our hands. We’re trying to do something nearly impossible, which is get people to take an outbreak seriously when, for most Americans, they don’t know anyone who’s sick and, if the plan works, they’ll never meet anyone who’s sick.”
In Pence’s visit to the Mayo Clinic, he was trying to show us how “tough” he is—but just showed his arrogance, lack of concern for others, and vanity. pic.twitter.com/ZsCi70p6Pb
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) April 28, 2020
Pence is irresponsible, duplicitous, and arrogant, not the qualities of an effective leader. https://t.co/jpsiNUlJ2r
— Barb McQuade (@BarbMcQuade) April 28, 2020
When I warned everyone in *February* that Pence doesn’t believe in science and shouldn’t be in charge of COVID response, I meant it.
But I admit I did not have “VP visits COVID patients without wearing a mask” on my bingo board. https://t.co/LmMM3n0Eng
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 29, 2020
Dear @VP Pence: The virus has incubation period of up to 14 days. Do you get tested every day? If you tested negative 3 days ago it doesn’t mean you couldn’t shed the virus today. Also, these tests are not perfect. I have asked repeatedly & @CDCgov refuses to disclose error rate. https://t.co/aWfgg4utyR
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 28, 2020
Pence should be forced to resign for breaking hospital regulations today.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) April 28, 2020
Pence said he wanted "to be able to speak to these researchers, these incredible health care personnel, and look them in the eye and say thank you." https://t.co/5TqAKhTi3H
— The Hill (@thehill) April 28, 2020
Hmm, the last time I checked masks don’t cover eyes….who wants to tell him? https://t.co/ot1DHMDRSZ
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@K_JeanPierre) April 28, 2020
Real leaders lead by example, but I’m not surprised Vice President Pence doesn’t know that. https://t.co/UIsFGYVLeQ
— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) April 28, 2020
VP Pence, on why he didn’t wear a mask today to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where Clinic officials had said it was required: “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.” https://t.co/IaXQA3WXmv
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) April 28, 2020
Lead by example if you expect to influence behavior. https://t.co/PKDpFjLutn
— Valerie Jarrett (@ValerieJarrett) April 28, 2020
The Mayo Clinic has apparently deleted this tweet, in which it said it told Pence of its mask policy before he declined to wear one. pic.twitter.com/UAQaWG6E8a
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) April 28, 2020
The Mayo Clinic just deleted this tweet… The medical community should not complicit with the Trump administration’s PR efforts. pic.twitter.com/kZsRyQGjwx
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) April 28, 2020
Pence chose not to cross and anger a boss who proudly refuses to wear a mask. Solidarity with a vain president trumped an important opportunity to provide Americans with a dignified example of how to stay safe in these perilous times.
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) April 28, 2020
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) April 29, 2020
Mike Pence didn’t want to wear a mask because he didn’t want to make his boss mad. Mike Pence I’m many ways is a worse person than Donald Trump. Man do I despise Mike Pence.
— Pete Dominick (@PeteDominick) April 29, 2020