Mike Pence has caused outrage and disbelief after he visited a hospital in Rochester, Minnesota and refused to wear a face mask, potentially putting himself and others at risk.
The vice president was visiting the Mayo Clinic, which has introduced a policy which requires all visitors and staff to wear a face mask at all times to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
This is the same advice that has also been laid out by the US government but Pence flouted these rules and went about his visit unprotected, claiming that he and others around him have been tested for the virus on a regular basis adding that he 'wanted to look them in the eye.' NPR quotes Pence as saying:
And since I don't have the coronavirus, I thought it'd be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers, these incredible health care personnel, and look them in the eye and say thank you.
Using the excuse that you wanted to "look them in the eye" for not wearing a mask that only covers your mouth is quite a reach...
Pence even appeared to ignore an actual request from the clinic to wear a mask, which they shared and then deleted after his visit.
According to Politico, the clinic has not confirmed why Pence ignored the rules despite being told to but they did compliment Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn, who accompanied Pence on the trip, saying:
He [Hahn] set a good example as a public health official.
Images of Pence showing clear disregard for his own safety and others have since flooded social media and many are furious that the vice president would consider himself above the rules that they have placed on the public.
Mockery and ridicule soon arrived for Pence, whose arrogance on public safety and hygiene chimes with Donald Trump, who has also said that he will not be wearing a mask despite those being the very regulations that he has enforced on the public and the advice offered by the CDC.
Meanwhile, supporters of the Trump administration are actually to deflect this embarrassing moment by claiming that the media isn't covering the news of Joe Biden being accused of sexual assault, which it definitely has.
It should also be noted that Pence's disregard for health and safety comes on the day that it was confirmed that 58,000 people have now died of coronavirus in the United States alone, more than any other country in the world.