Multiple major media outlets are reporting tonight that Mike Pence’s office has announced that two of his aides – including Chief of Staff Marc Short and adviser Marty Obst – have tested positive for coronavirus (Update, 1:11am: NY Times now says it’s five Pence aides). This means that Pence has been directly exposed, and there’s a good chance he has it.
Stunningly, yet perhaps not surprisingly, Mike Pence’s office says that he plans to remain on the campaign trail, insisting that he meets the CDC protocol for “essential personnel,” which is beyond absurd. As the pushback from the media and the public grows worse overnight, we have a feeling Pence may end up having to reverse course and start quarantining. But even if so, it’s notable that his first instinct was to remain on the campaign trail.
It suggests that Pence thinks he and Donald Trump are on track to lose the election anyway, and so he has nothing to lose by remaining out on the campaign trail. If he ends up testing positive and then takes heat for having exposed the public, he figures it’s a risk worth taking, because if he comes off the trail at this point, it’ll only further cement the likelihood that they’ll lose.
In any case, as always, our job is to prove these guys right. Let’s double down on voter turnout and campaign volunteering, and make sure Donald Trump and Mike Pence really do lose.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report