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Pence tests negative as White House scrambles to deal with its coronavirus outbreak

Vice President Mike Pence speaking at the Air Force Academy graduation on April 18, 2020. (Air Force Academy/Released)

Vice President Mike Pence tested negative for the coronavirus on Friday morning, his office announced, suggesting that he might not have been infected by President Trump or others on the White House staff.

“As has been routine for months, Vice President Pence is tested for COVID-19 every day. This morning, Vice President Pence and the Second Lady tested negative for COVID-19,” tweeted Devin O’Malley, Pence’s press secretary. “Vice President Pence remains in good health and wishes the Trumps well in their recovery.”

Pence’s office did not immediately respond to questions about when he was last in contact with Trump, who announced his positive test results early Friday morning. But during a rally in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, he told the crowd that he had been in the Oval Office with the president earlier that day.

The news that Pence had tested negative alleviates some questions about the presidential line of succession if Trump becomes badly ill and is unable to perform his duties. As an elderly man, Trump is a prime candidate to develop serious symptoms from the coronavirus.

Pence is currently scheduled to participate in a debate on Wednesday with Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee.

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It’s unclear where Trump contracted the virus, but one of his closest aides, Hope Hicks, tested positive on Thursday.

The viral spread presents a nightmare scenario for the White House. Trump has been traveling in close quarters with top members of his administration and his campaign in recent days. The people closest to the president are tested regularly, but they rarely wear masks.

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© 2020 the Los Angeles Times