FIVE of Mike Pence’s aides test positive for COVID: VP’s chief of staff, his senior political advisor and three more of his staff members get infected
- Marc Short, Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday
- Pence and his wife Karen both tested negative on Saturday
- Pence’s spokesman said that he would continue campaigning as planned
- Pence will carry on ‘in accordance with CDC guidelines for essential personnel’
- The vice president was in Florida on Saturday for a campaign rally
- News broke shortly after it was reported Pence’s political advisor was positive
- Marty Obst has also reportedly tested positive for COVID-19
Chief of staff Marc Short’s diagnosis was reported on Saturday night by Bloomberg.
It was then confirmed by Pence’s office – with the fact that the White House did not announce the news raising eyebrows.
On Saturday night the New York Times reported that two people briefed on the matter said that the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, had sought to keep news of the outbreak from becoming public.
‘Today, Marc Short, Chief of Staff to the Vice President, tested positive for COVID-19, began quarantine and assisting in the contact tracing process,’ said Devin O’Malley, Pence’s press secretary.
‘Vice President Pence and Mrs Pence both tested negative for COVID-19 today, and remain in good health.
‘While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the Vice President will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel.’
Marc Short (right) tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, while Pence (left) was negative
From left: Marc Short, Mike Pence, Scott Walker and Pence adviser Marty Obst on October 7
Marty Obst, pictured in June with Mike Pence, has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19
On Saturday Pence held two campaign rallies in Florida – one in Tallahassee, and another in Jacksonville.
Short, 50, did not travel with Pence.
Obst is an outside adviser and not a government employee, and his infection has not been officially confirmed.
Short is the second and Obst would be the third person in Pence’s inner circle to test positive, after his speechwriter Katie Miller became infected in May.
She returned to work three weeks later.
Obst has worked with Pence since 2016
A significant number of White House staff have fallen ill since a September 26 ‘super-spreader event’ at the Rose Garden, to announce Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Among those to subsequently test positive were the president and first lady, their 14-year-old son Barron, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany plus several members of her team, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, and adviser Chris Christie.
It was unclear whether Short or Obst were suffering from any symptoms.
Short, who like his boss is an evangelical Christian, first worked in the White House as the Director of Legislative Affairs.
He left in the summer of 2018, but then returned to the administration as Pence’s chief of staff in the spring of 2019.
He is considered one of Pence’s most important aides, regularly appearing on camera to defend the vice president’s positions.
Obst first worked for Pence in the spring of 2016, during his re-election campaign for governor of Indiana.
When, in July 2016, Trump named Pence as his running mate, Obst became his campaign manager and director of operations.