Pence says he should have worn mask during Mayo Clinic visit

Vice President Pence signaled Sunday that he regretted not wearing a face covering during a visit to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota last week.

“I didn’t think it was necessary, but I should have worn a mask at the Mayo Clinic,” Pence said during a Fox News virtual town hall Sunday evening.

Pence, who was asked about last week’s controversy by Fox News anchor Bret Baier, explained that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines recommend masks be worn to prevent asymptomatic spread of COVID-19.

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Pence said that he and President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump on Kanye West's presidential run: 'He is always going to be for us' Marie Yovanovitch on Vindman retirement: He 'deserved better than this. Our country deserved better than this' Trump says Biden has been 'brainwashed': 'He's been taken over by the radical left' MORE are regularly tested for the virus because of their positions, suggesting as he did last week that he didn’t see the need to wear a face covering at the time because he knew he didn’t have the virus.

Still, Pence signaled regret for the decision and noted that he wore a mask when visiting a General Motors facility in Indiana just two days later.

“I think it really is a statement about the American people, the way people have been willing to step forward, practice social distancing, wear masks in settings where they can’t do that,” Pence continued. “I couldn’t be more grateful to see how the American people responded.”

The vice president said he believes that the Trump administration’s social distancing guidelines have saved thousands of lives.

Pence stirred controversy last Tuesday when he was seen touring the Mayo Clinic without a face covering, while other officials like Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn were wearing masks. The clinic issued guidance in April requiring patients and visitors to wear face coverings in accordance with new CDC guidelines recommending masks.

Pence defended his decision at the time and second lady Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook- Schools weigh reopening options Pence and his wife voted by mail in Indiana GOP primary using old address The Hill's 12:30 Report: Senate unveils police reform bill as House works on its own bill MORE said later that he was unaware of the Mayo Clinic’s policy on face coverings. Pence was photographed wearing a face covering during his visit to the GM plant, which is producing ventilators, on Thursday.