Pence to distance himself from Trump as COVID-19 precaution

Pence to distance himself from Trump as COVID-19 precaution
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President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE and Vice President Pence plan to keep some distance from one another out of an abundance of caution after one of the vice president's top aides tested positive for the coronavirus.

The two leaders plan to maintain their distance for the "immediate future" after consulting with the White House medical unit, an administration official said. The decision is the latest step put in place by the White House to try and mitigate the spread of the virus after two staffers working in the building tested positive last week.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters later Tuesday that it was Pence's personal choice to stay away from the president.

"The vice president has made the choice to keep his distance for a few days, and I would just note that that's his personal decision," she said at a press briefing, adding that Pence would determine how long he would choose to keep his distance from Trump.

The two leaders had previously attended White House events together, often standing side-by-side at coronavirus briefings throughout the month of April.

Trump told reporters on Monday that he would discuss keeping some separation from Pence as a precautionary measure after his press secretary, Katie Miller, was one of the staffers who tested positive.

"I have not seen him since then," Trump said. "But I would say that he will — he and I will be talking about that. Yeah, we could talk on the phone."

Miller tested positive last Friday, one day after a military member who serves as a personal valet for Trump tested positive. The White House has implemented additional measures in the days since to try and keep the president safe.

Both Trump and Pence are now tested daily instead of weekly, as are some officials who are in regular contact with either leader.

The most visible change came Monday when a memo instructed all officials working in the West Wing to wear a mask when they were not at their desks or able to maintain proper social distancing from others. The new policy was on display in the Rose Garden, where every official in attendance had a mask on other than Trump.

Pence traveled to Iowa on Friday, the day Miller tested positive. He is working from the White House this week, though his public schedule shows he has been holding meetings with governors and other officials via teleconference and videoconference. The vice president did not attend Monday's Rose Garden event.

Updated at 2:43 p.m.