Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a news conference in the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, April 23, 2020.
Michael Reynolds | EPA | Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON – An aide to Vice President Mike Pence has tested positive for coronavirus, a senior administration official confirmed Friday to NBC News.
This comes a day after news broke that President Donald Trump’s personal valet had also tested positive.
A spokeswoman for Pence did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Pence was scheduled to travel to Des Moines, Iowa, Friday morning, but his departure from Andrews Air Force Base was delayed by nearly an hour as staff dealt with news of the diagnosis. Reporters traveling with Pence said several staffers disembarked from Air Force Two at the last minute, prior to takeoff.
As of Friday, more than 75,000 Americans have died of Covid-19, and more than 1.2 million have tested positive.
Yet both Pence and Trump by and large refuse to wear masks, which the CDC recommends everyone wear in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Trump has never been inclined to wear a mask. Moments after the CDC issued its initial guidance on masks in April, the president said, “I don’t think that I’m going to be doing it.”
This has not changed, even with news of his valet’s positive test. On Friday Trump attended an event to mark the anniversary of VE Day, and neither he nor first lady Melania Trump wore a mask.
Pence drew widespread criticism in late April for not wearing a mask during a visit to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Pence later said he “should have worn the mask at the Mayo Clinic,” but that he didn’t think it was necessary because he is tested frequently for the coronavirus.
The president said on Thursday that he and Pence would both begin taking daily coronavirus tests, an increase from the weekly tests that had so far been White House protocol. There was no word on whether staffers would also be given daily tests. Currently, the White House checks temperatures for visitors and tests staff close to the president and vice president weekly.
Trump’s valet is a member of the military, and reportedly had very close contact with Trump, which included serving the president his meals, and helping him with his clothes and other personal needs.
Trump, however, denied having close contact with the sick valet. “I’ve had very little personal contact with this gentleman,” Trump told reporters Thursday in the Oval Office. “I know who he is, good person, but I’ve had very little contact.”
This is breaking news, please check back for updates.