Pence refuses to use protection at debate despite all his exposure to COVID

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Mike Pence is refusing to allow a plexiglass divider at Wednesday's vice presidential debate, which would expose Kamala Harris to the coronavirus.

Vice President Mike Pence is objecting to an already agreed upon decision to have a clear plexiglass divider on his side of the stage, between himself and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, at Wednesday's debate, the Washington Post reported.

Pence — who has been in contact with multiple people who tested positive for the deadly coronavirus — does not view the plexiglass divider as "medically necessary," according to the Post's report.

"It's not needed," Marc Short, Pence's chief of staff, told the Washington Post, saying Harris was "more than welcome to surround herself with plexiglass if that makes her feel more comfortable."

The Biden campaign and Trump campaign have been negotiating with the Commission on Presidential Debates to increase virus prevention measures after a massive coronavirus outbreak hit the Trump administration White House.

The campaigns reportedly came to an agreement that the candidates would sit 12 feet apart and be separated by plexiglass on both sides of the debate stage to prevent an infection spreading at the one and only vice presidential debate — scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

However, Pence's team has been combative and dismissive of the virus prevention measures, despite the fact that the White House complex — where Pence works — is currently a coronavirus hotspot.

"If Sen. Harris wants to use a fortress around herself, have at it," Katie Miller, Pence's communications director, said on Monday, according to Politico.

Donald Trump himself tested positive for the virus on Thursday but publicly announced his positive diagnosis in the early hours of Friday morning.

Pence has tested negative for the virus, according to the White House.

However, Pence was surrounded by people who have since tested positive for the virus at a Rose Garden event for Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Pence was sitting in front of Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who has since tested positive, and nearby first lady Melania Trump, former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) — who have all tested positive for the virus.

And the White House has been anything but forthcoming about who has tested positive in the building, raising questions about whether Pence could have been exposed to other positive cases.

It's unclear why Pence is refusing to implement a basic public health measure.

But public polling suggests it won't be a popular position.

An ABC News poll from Sunday found 72% of Americans believe Trump did not take appropriate precautions to prevent the coronavirus. And a Morning Consult poll from Tuesday found that 60% of voters think Trump was wrong when he said people shouldn't be "afraid" of the coronavirus.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.