TPM News

Pence Delayed AZ Trip After Eight Secret Service Agents Tested Positive For Coronavirus

M4s33nhnmhhfk5lxaxvj

The Washington Post first reported the news on Thursday night. CNN reported the following morning that eight Secret Service agents in Pence’s detail tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of the VP’s Arizona trip.

According to the Post, citing two senior administration officials, Pence went to Phoenix on Wednesday  — instead of its originally scheduled Tuesday date — so that healthy agents could be deployed for his visit.

Pence’s Arizona trip came as the state emerged as a coronavirus hot spot in recent weeks, prompting the VP to scale back the trip prior to the delay in light of Arizona’s surge in coronavirus cases.

One administration official told the Post that members of Pence’s staff were concerned last weekend about whether it would be possible to hold planned public events in Tucson and Yuma amid Arizona’s spike in coronavirus cases. On Saturday, Pence’s staff decided to limit his visit only to Phoenix for a public health briefing with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) and local health care leaders.

Two administration officials told the Post that the Secret Service urged Pence on Monday night to delay his Arizona trip originally scheduled for Tuesday until Wednesday after at least one agent had a confirmed coronavirus case. Additionally, other agents and federal officers preparing for the Arizona trip were showing signs of illness.

Secret Service Director of Communications Catherine Milhoan told CNN in a statement on Friday that “the health and safety of our workforce, their families, and that of our protectees remains the agency’s highest priority” and that the agency “continues to operate in compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations through the U.S. Secret Service Office of Safety, Health and Environmental Programs.”

Secret Service agents testing positive for coronavirus ahead of Pence’s Arizona trip marks the second time in recent weeks that agents preparing for a White House or Trump campaign event outside Washington contracted the virus.

At least three Secret Service agents in the advance team for President Trump’s Tulsa rally last month tested positive for the coronavirus. Hour before the indoor Tulsa rally kicked off, two agents tested positive for the virus. Dozens of agents who worked during the rally were ordered to self-quarantine upon arriving home.

About The Author

Summer_concepcion_profile2019

Summer Concepcion is the front page editor of Talking Points Memo based in New York City. Previously, she covered the 2016 presidential election for Fusion and worked as a researcher at The Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute. She's an LA native and former Chicago transplant. Reach her at summer@talkingpointsmemo.com