Fox Business Network host Stuart Varney surprisingly took Vice President Mike Pence to task on Wednesday morning for refusing to wear a face mask while visiting staff and a patient at the Mayo Clinic earlier this week.
Varney, who has been extremely bullish on relaxing stay-at-home restrictions in order to quickly reopen the economy, pointed to a couple of recent events in New York that highlight the difficulty of enforcing lockdown rules: the Blue Angels flyover and a large funeral for an Orthodox rabbi.
“Two formations of F-16s flew over New York City and Philadelphia. They weren’t the problem. It was the crowds who lined the streets, some without masks, and many ignoring social distancing rules,” Varney said. “Tough call for the police. The crowds gathered all over the place, stretched out for miles. Now, in this situation, enforcing the rules is very difficult, if not impossible. Does that mean no more flyovers? No more fireworks displays? Well, that’s an option, that’s a consideration here.”
After noting that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has placed himself in a “difficult position” for breaking up a funeral in the Jewish community, Varney wondered aloud what will happen when the weather gets nice this upcoming weekend and people start gathering in parks.
“As we have said all week long, cabin fever is meeting spring fever, and we are getting out and about,” the conservative host remarked. “Can we enjoy the spring responsibly? We had better, because a spike in new cases would mean a second wave and perhaps a new and more crippling lockdown.”
Telling viewers that the answer to minimizing risk is to “wash your hands, wear a mask, and keep your distance,” Varney—a host so overtly pro-Trump he once credulously declared that the president has never lied—then blasted Pence for flouting the administration’s own guidelines.
“It does not help when public officials ignore their own rules, like Vice President Mike Pence at the Mayo Clinic yesterday,” Varney concluded. “He should have worn a mask. He didn’t. We should all obey the rules.”
During his tour of the clinic on Tuesday, Pence, who heads the White House’s coronavirus task force, was the only member of the delegation of Trump administration officials who did not don a face mask despite the facility’s clear policy requiring people do so on its campus.
In a since-deleted tweet, the Mayo Clinic called out the veep for not adhering to their rules, saying they “had informed @VP of the masking policy prior to his arrival.” Furthermore, the CDC has issued guidance that all Americans should wear face coverings in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
Pence, meanwhile, justified his maskless appearance by noting that he’s been regularly tested for coronavirus, as have those individuals the vice president has been around.