But despite the clear need to keep the vice president completely safe and minimize any risk of contracting the virus, Pence is expected to travel on Monday ahead of the vice presidential debate. It’s unclear how long the President will remain hospitalized, and whether he would still be at Walter Reed when Pence travels. His doctor would not put a date on his expected return to the White House.
Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller said during an interview with NBC News on Sunday that Pence is not changing his schedule in light of the President being hospitalized.
“We’re in a campaign. We have a month to go. We see Joe Biden and Kamala Harris out there campaigning. Certainly they’re not asking for a remote debate,” Miller said. “Vice President Pence is following the debate, for the vice presidential candidates, on Wednesday. He will be hitting the trail…and he’s going to have a very full aggressive schedule as will the first family…(we have) no concerns at all.”
Pence and second lady Karen Pence each have tested negative for the virus two additional times since Friday.
Business as usual
For Pence, it’s business as usual, relatively. The vice president remained at his Naval Observatory home throughout the day on Friday after Trump’s diagnosis, leading a call on vulnerable seniors with state and local officials.
“I know many of you were expecting to hear from President Trump today, but as I’m sure you are all aware, President Trump and the first lady tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday,” Pence said as he began the call, adding that Trump “asked me to take this call today.”
Pence is scheduled to remain at the Naval Observatory on Saturday, leading a meeting of the coronavirus task force at 2:30 p.m. Pence typically leads those meetings from the Situation Room of the White House, but will instead do so from his residence. Trump and Pence will continue to be in touch by phone Saturday, like most days, his office said.
On Monday, he will travel to Salt Lake City ahead of the vice presidential debate with his Democratic opponent, Sen. Kamala Harris of California. There are no plans, as of now, to postpone or cancel the debate.
And Pence’s campaign travel is expected to continue, with little sign that the protocols will change to meet the needs of the moment. Though Pence’s events are smaller in scale than Trump’s campaign rallies, his campaign activities still actively fly in the face of recommendations from task force he leads. He wears masks, but inconsistently.
The campaign announced in a second statement Saturday that Pence “will begin a swing through key states following Wednesday’s debate,” including early voting in his home state of Indiana and “other events yet to be announced.”
The travel push comes despite many public health experts who have warned that Pence should self-isolate rather than risk potential exposure.
Pence maintained a busy campaign schedule in the days before Trump’s diagnosis. On Tuesday, he made remarks at a debate watch party in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
On Wednesday, he attended a closed-press fundraiser luncheon inside the St. Regis hotel in Atlanta, followed by remarks to a few hundred people tightly clustered in a ballroom, largely not wearing masks, at a Faith and Freedom Coalition Policy Conference. Pence worked the rope line after the event, per the pool reporter, and did not wear a mask.
On Thursday, he traveled to Carter Lake, Iowa, for an indoor rally with more than 275 people, most of whom did not wear masks. This week’s coronavirus task force report for the state of Iowa recommended the state, which has experienced weeks of rising cases and has the sixth highest rate of new cases in the country, “institute mask requirements statewide with reduced capacity for indoor dining and bars.” Pence then traveled to Des Moines, Iowa, for a Faith in Leadership event, which was also indoors and a majority of attendees did not wear masks.
This story has been updated with additional developments.
CNN’s Sarah Westwood and Chandelis Duster contributed to this report.