Top Pence aide tests positive for coronavirus

25 October 2020, 07:19 | Updated: 25 October 2020, 08:43

Mike Pence will carry on campaigning
Mike Pence will carry on campaigning. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Vice president Mike Pence will continue with his organised campaign schedule after his chief of staff, Marc Short, tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday.

Mr Pence's spokesman Devin O'Malley says the vice president and his wife, Karen Pence, both tested negative for the virus on Saturday and remain in good health.

Mr Short is Mr Pence's closest aide and the vice president is considered a "close contact" under Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

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Mr O'Malley says that "in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the Vice President will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel."

Those guidelines mandate that essential workers exposed to someone with coronavirus closely monitor for symptoms of Covid-19 and wear a mask whenever around other people.

After a day of campaigning on Saturday, Mr Pence was seen wearing a mask as he returned to Washington aboard Air Force Two once the news of Mr Short's diagnosis was made public.

It comes after President Donald Trump has tried to keep the focus on Democrat Joe Biden's comments in the final presidential debate about supporting a "transition" away from oil in favour of renewable energy.

At a campaign rally in Pensacola, Florida, Mr Trump revelled in Mr Biden's remarks, saying voters in Texas, Pennsylvania and other states would not like them.

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He told supporters: "Even you don't like it. You know why you don't like it? Because you like your gasoline at $2 (£1.54) and less per gallon."

Mr Biden's campaign released a statement hours after Thursday's debate declaring that the Democratic nominee would phase out taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuel companies, not the industry altogether.

Mr Trump also played for supporters a video of various comments that Mr Biden has made on fracking in a bid to make him look like he opposes it.

Mr Biden's position is that he does not support new fracking on federal lands. Most fracking occurs on private land.

The president talked extensively about Thursday night's debate in his Florida rallies.

He said Mr Biden "looked like he made it. It looked like it was going to be OK. He got off the stage, going back to his basement and then they hit him with the energy question. They hit him with a thing called oil."