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Multiple top Pence aides test positive for COVID-19: What we know so far

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb fist bumps Vice President Mike Pence during a Make America Great Again rally at Fort Wayne Aero Center in Fort Wayne, Ind., on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. (Colin Boyle/IndyStar/TNS)
October 26, 2020

Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, tested positive for COVID-19 Saturday, Pence’s spokesman said in a statement Saturday night to USA Today after reports that another senior adviser had also tested positive.

The New York Times and CNN reported that an additional Pence aide had tested positive for the virus, bringing the total to at least three. The Times reported as many as five close associates to the vice president have tested positive for COVID-19.

Here’s what we know so far:

Who is Marc Short?

Marc Short has been Pence’s chief of staff since early 2019.

Before that, Short served White House director of legislative affairs for President Donald Trump. He left the that role and the administration in summer 2018 until he returned to work for Pence.

When did Short test positive?

Short tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday and immediately began quarantining, according to Pence spokesman Devin O’Malley.

Short is considered to be a close contact of Pence. The two have been traveling together, including two stops in Indiana on Thursday and Friday.

He is working to help with contract tracing and did not join Pence on a campaign trip Saturday to Florida.

Other aides in close contact with Short were kept from traveling to Florida.

What has the president said?

Trump, who contracted the virus about three weeks ago, briefly commented to reporters after returning from the campaign trail early Sunday morning.

“He’s going to be fine,” Trump said of Short, when he got off Air Force One. “But he’s quarantining.”

Has Pence been tested?

Pence and his wife, Karen, tested negative for COVID-19 on Saturday, according to O’Malley.

They tested negative again on Sunday, according to CNN and NPR.

Pence is not isolating as his office considers him essential personnel. Pence is the head of the White House’s coronavirus task force.

O’Malley said Pence consulted with the White House Medical Unit and is following the CDC’s essential personnel guidelines.

The CDC says essential workers with a close contact who has tested positive for coronavirus may continue working if they are asymptomatic and take additional precautions.

Under these guidelines, Pence should take his temperature before work, wear a face mask at all times and practice social distancing when possible.

When was Pence last in Indiana?

Pence visited two Indiana cities on Thursday and Friday.

He was in Fort Wayne on Thursday to campaign for Trump. A few hundred people, including some Indiana politicians such as Gov. Eric Holcomb and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, were in attendance.

Holcomb bumped fists with Pence at the rally. The two were not wearing masks while they did so.

It is unclear whether Holcomb had any direct contact with Short. The governor’s office did not immediately return IndyStar’s requests for comment.

After the rally, Pence and his wife flew to Indianapolis. They dropped off their mail-in ballots Friday morning at the City-County Building.

The couple were only in the building for about a minute as they put their ballots in a drop-off ballot box outside the clerk’s office. They were photographed wearing masks as they did so.

Is Pence still traveling?

Yes, Pence continues to travel and campaigning for Trump.

After his Indiana trip, Pence spoke at two rallies Saturday in Florida.

During the second rally in Lakeland, Bloomberg first reported that Obst had tested positive.

He was scheduled to speak at a 4 p.m. rally in Kinston, North Carolina, on Sunday and will be in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Greenville, South Carolina, on Tuesday.

Karen Pence will appear at an event in New Hill, North Carolina, on Monday.


(c) 2020 The Indianapolis Star

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