The same day his press secretary tested positive for COVID-19, Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Iowa without a mask, and a video shows the CEOs he met with at a public roundtable were asked to remove theirs.
A video first posted by The Intercept clearly shows Ron Cameron of Mountaire Farms, Ken Sullivan of Smithfield Foods, Rodney McMullen of Kroger, Noel White of Tyson Foods and Zippy Duvall, the president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, being asked to remove their masks before Pence and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds arrive — maskless — at the roundtable hosted at HyVee headquarters in West Des Moines. All five complied.
The CDC has recommended masks in public since mid-April. The meat-processing plants two of the CEOs represent have been among the hardest hit industries in Iowa and its surrounding states.
After returning from Iowa, Pence spent the weekend at home.
The vice president’s trip to Iowa was delayed by about an hour Friday after his press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive.
Senator Joni Ernst, who flew back to Iowa with Pence on Air Force 2, will not be self-isolating. Same with Senator Chuck Grassley, who also was on the plane.
Pence came under fire late last month when he chose not to wear a mask during a tour of the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, a violation of the medical center’s policy.
Pence later told Fox News Channel, “I didn’t think it was necessary, but I should have worn a mask at the Mayo Clinic.”
Reynolds, who has repeatedly told Iowans in her daily COVID-19 news conferences not to go out unless they have to, traveled to Washington D.C. on Wednesday with Iowa Department of Public Heath Medical Director Dr. Caitlin Pedati to meet with Pence and President Donald Trump.
According to Bloomberg News, Reynolds is considering self-isolating, while Pedati already is.