Pence travel questioned after aides test positive

Pence travel questioned after aides test positive
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Trump administration and campaign officials faced questioning on Sunday about Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceDeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Pence to narrate Limbaugh documentary series for Fox Nation Trump sued by Democrat over mob attack on Capitol MORE’s planned travel in the upcoming week after reports revealed two of his top aides tested positive for COVID-19.

White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsTrump attacks Karl Rove: 'A pompous fool with bad advice' How scientists saved Trump's FDA from politics Liberals howl after Democrats cave on witnesses MORE defended Pence’s campaign travel on CNN’s “State of the Union,” promoting the administration’s argument that Pence serves as an essential worker and is allowed to continue campaigning in person. 

"As we look at that, essential personnel, whether it's the vice president of the United States or anyone else, has to continue on,” Meadows said after host Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperEx-Trump press secretary criticized for stirring up QAnon on Twitter Maryland GOP governor says he would have voted to convict Trump Democratic senator defends decision not to call witnesses: 'They weren't going to get more Republican votes' MORE pressed him on how campaigning classified as essential work. 

Meadows declined to say how many people in the vice president’s office have contracted coronavirus, telling CNN’s Jake Tapper that “we don’t give out that kind of information.” 

The chief of staff stressed that Pence is “wearing a mask, socially distancing and when he goes up to speak he will take the mask off, put it back on.” The vice president was not wearing a mask while speaking at a rally in Tallahassee, Fla. on Saturday.

Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, and adviser Marty Obst both tested positive for COVID-19, but the vice president himself has tested negative for the virus twice.

Trump campaign adviser Corey LewandowskiCorey LewandowskiTrump's reemergence poses risks for GOP, media Trump likely to form new super PAC Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief ousts hundreds from advisory panels | Defense pick discusses Trump transition hurdles | Aircraft carrier returning home after 10-month deployment MORE on Sunday also stood by Pence’s campaigning, noting on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTrump sued by Democrat over mob attack on Capitol Harris speaks with Netanyahu amid ICC probe Senate votes to take up COVID-19 relief bill MORE (D-Calif.) the Democratic vice presidential nominee, continued her campaign after a staffer tested positive. 

“I’m sure he’ll do what’s necessary and what’s appropriate,” Lewandowski said, referring to Pence. “And look, we’ve also seen Kamala Harris’s team — members of her team come down with COVID and she took the necessary precautions.”

Harris's communications director, Liz Allen, tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, prompting the senator to cancel some planned travel to Oct. 18. But Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's campaign has said Harris was not in close contact with Allen or another aide who tested positive. 

While Obst was last in contact with Pence about a week ago, Short has been in frequent contact with the vice president. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines instruct those who were in close contact with a person with COVID-19 to stay home for 14 days after their last contact with the individual. 

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris ChristieChris ChristieBiden administration buys 100,000 doses of Lilly antibody drug Cancun fallout threatens to deal lasting damage to Cruz On The Trail: The political perils of Snowmageddon MORE (R) told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that he was surprised Pence was staying on the campaign trail after his aides' positive tests. 

"I think everybody's got to put the health of the people they're going to be in touch with first," Christie said.

“You got to keep yourself away from everybody and I'm a little bit surprised," he added.

Christie previously tested positive and was hospitalized for COVID-19 for a week after attending President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new tranche of endorsements DeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Lawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food MORE’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettBarrett authors first Supreme Court majority opinion against environmental group Justices raise bar for noncitizens to challenge removal from US after conviction Bill introduced to create RBG monument on Capitol Hill MORE to the Supreme Court – an event that top infectious disease expert Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Defense: White House open to reforming war powers | Army base might house migrant children | Fauci scolds military on vaccine Overnight Health Care: CDC study links masks to fewer COVID-19 deaths | Relief debate stalls in Senate | Biden faces criticism over push to vaccinate teachers Watch live: White House coronavirus response team holds briefing MORE described as a “superspreader event.”

Trump, first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpMissouri pastor faces backlash after suggesting wives should lose weight, strive to look like Melania Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - FBI director testifies on Jan. 6 Capitol attack Overnight Health Care: Senate to vote on .9 trillion relief bill this week | J&J vaccine rollout begins | CDC warns against lifting restrictions MORE and their son, Barron Trump, also tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month days after the nomination event. The president was hospitalized for three days, and several high-profile Republicans and officials subsequently tested positive for the virus.

The apparent outbreak in Pence’s office occurred weeks after the White House surge. 

As Election Day looms slightly more than a week away, Pence is expected to step up his travel, including to North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Minnesota in upcoming days.

Trump reelection campaign events with the president or vice president have gathered hundreds, usually outdoors, with the majority of the crowd not socially distancing or wearing masks.

Cases in the U.S. have surged recently, reaching a record of 85,085 new COVID-19 cases in a single day on Friday, according to The New York Times.