Mike Pence's staff is threatening a reporter who divulged that everyone who traveled with Pence to the Mayo Clinic on Tuesday was informed they should wear face masks during the trip, the Washington Post reported.
The reporter, Voice of America's Steve Herman, says he was banned from traveling with Pence on Air Force Two, according to the Post. The Post also reported that Pence's staff said they are still weighing punishment and demanding Herman apologize for revealing the information.
Pence has come under fire for not wearing a mask during his visit to the medical facilities in Minnesota, ignoring the Mayo Clinic's own policy, as well as the Trump administration's guidance that Americans wear masks in public.
Pence claimed he didn't wear a mask because he had already tested negative for the virus and wanted to look people at the facility in the eye — something that would not be hindered by a face mask.
Pence's wife, Karen, later came up with a new excuse, saying that Pence didn't know about the Mayo Clinic's policy until after the visit.
"It was actually after he left Mayo Clinic that he found out that they had a policy of asking everyone to wear a mask," she told "Fox & Friends" Thursday morning.
That excuse never made sense, as the Mayo Clinic itself said in a now-deleted tweet that Pence's staff was informed of the policy prior to the visit.
And in response to Karen Pence's comment, Herman tweeted that Pence's office informed all reporters on the trip that masks were required.
"All of us who traveled with [Pence] were notified by the office of @VP the day before the trip that wearing of masks was required by the @MayoClinic and to prepare accordingly," Herman tweeted in response to Karen Pence's excuse.
The Post was able to confirm the information in the tweet, writing that all reporters who were making the trip with Pence were told in a document from Pence's staff that, "the Mayo Clinic is requiring all individuals traveling with the VP wear masks. Please bring one to wear while on the trip."
The Post reported that Pence's staff was "enraged" by Herman's tweet. Pence's staff believed the information Herman revealed was off-the-record and not reportable.
The document was marked with the words "OFF THE RECORD AND FOR PLANNING PURPOSES ONLY," but Herman's tweet came 48 hours after Pence had left the facility, when the information was no longer sensitive.
"My tweet speaks for itself," Herman told the Washington Post. "We always have and will strictly adhere to keeping off the record any White House communications to reporters for planning purposes involving logistics that have security implications prior to events. ... All White House pool reporters, including myself and my VOA colleagues, take this very seriously."Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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