Karen Pence makes up new excuse for her husband's refusal to wear face mask

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Karen Pence claims her husband 'actually' did not know about the policy of wearing masks, despite evidence to the contrary.

Karen Pence has concocted a new excuse to defend her husband ignoring guidelines at the Mayo Clinic requiring everyone to wear a face mask: She says he just didn't know he was supposed to.

"It was actually after he left Mayo Clinic that he found out that they had a policy of asking everyone to wear a mask," Karen Pence said Wednesday morning on Fox News when asked why her husband refused to wear a mask when he visited Minnesota's Mayo Clinic on Tuesday to greet health care workers and patients recovering from COVID-19. He was the only person on the tour who refused to wear a mask.

"Someone who's worked on this whole task force for over two months is not someone who would have done anything to offend anyone or hurt anyone or scare anyone," she added.

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Mike Pence is leading Donald Trump's coronavirus task force.

When Pence was asked on Tuesday why he refused to follow the Mayo Clinic's policy, he said he did not want to wear a mask so he would be "able to speak to these researchers, these incredible health care personnel, and look them in the eye and say thank you."

Face masks do not cover the eyes.

After Pence's visit, the Mayo Clinic tweeted, "Mayo Clinic had informed @VP [Pence] of the masking policy prior to his arrival today," and then deleted the tweet with no explanation.

Steve Herman, White House bureau chief for Voice of America News, further undermined Karen Pence's excuse, tweeting that members of the press traveling with Mike Pence "were notified by the office of @VP the day before the trip that wearing of masks was required" and to "prepare accordingly."

Pence's decision not to wear a mask was criticized by medical experts.

"The vast majority of individuals that we think are likely transmitters of the disease have no symptoms," Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist and NBC contributor, told NBC News. "You basically have a bunch of people feeling great who think they don't need to follow the rules."

Refusing to wear a mask "highlights a lack of understanding or respect of even the most basic principles of public health," Dr. Craig Spencer, an ER doctor and director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center, tweeted on Tuesday. He also called Pence's decision "dangerous & disrespectful."

Donald Trump has also refused to wear a face mask in public, despite guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying to do so.

"So much of public health and leadership is about optics," Gupta told NBC. All Pence did was "weaken the messaging and the strength behind" the advice to wear masks.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.