Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday defended a Rose Garden event last month after which more than 30 people, including the president, tested positive for coronavirus.
The Sept. 26 event where President Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to serve on the Supreme Court was outdoors, one tactic routinely touted by scientists to mitigate the virus, Pence said.
“That Rose Garden event, there’s been a great deal of speculation about it,” Pence said at the vice presidential debate. “My wife and I were honored to be there. Many people there were tested for coronavirus, and it was an outdoor event which all of our scientists regularly and routinely advise.”
Few people at the event were wearing masks and there was little distance between people. Some guests interacted at gatherings both inside and outside the White House before and after the event.
“President Trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interests of their health,” Pence continued. “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris consistently talk about mandates, and not just mandates with the coronavirus, but a government takeover of health care.”
Since the event, which is widely referred to as a “superspreader” gathering, a number of attendees and top administration staff have tested positive, including the president and his wife, Melania Trump, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, adviser Kellyanne Conway, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), to name a few.