I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker:
On April 28, the White House resistance to masking came to a head when Pence flew to Rochester, Minnesota, to tour the Mayo Clinic. He visited with patients and staff and toured facilities at the renowned medical center that were supporting COVID-19 research, but did not wear a mask, a violation of the Mayo Clinic’s policy. Video of Pence’s maskless interactions, including greeting a patient in bed, went viral. Here was the chair of the coronavirus task force flouting a hospital’s policy, not to mention the CDC’s recommendations. Everyone else in the video clips wore masks.
Pence at first defended his decision not to wear a mask, saying he was tested for the virus regularly. “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,’” Pence said.
Two days later second lady Karen Pence would claim on Fox News that her husband hadn’t known about the mask requirement until after the clinic visit. But that wasn’t the full truth. Pence’s staff did know the policy. The Mayo Clinic tweeted on its official social media account, “Mayo Clinic had informed @VP of the masking policy prior to his arrival today.” The tweet was soon deleted, after Marc Short yelled at clinic officials for attempting to embarrass the vice president and for drawing media attention away from the convalescent plasma research Pence had flown to Rochester to promote.