Pence delayed Arizona trip after Secret Service agents tested COVID-19 positive

Jul 04, 2020

National
Pence delayed Arizona trip after Secret Service agents tested COVID-19 positive

Washington D.C. [USA], July 4 (ANI): US Vice President Mike Pence's trip to Arizona this week had to be postponed by a day after several Secret Service agents who helped in organising the visit either tested positive for the coronavirus or were showing symptoms of being infected.
According to The Washington Post, Pence was scheduled to go to Phoenix on Tuesday but went on Wednesday instead so that healthy agents could be deployed for his visit, according to two senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private details of the trip.
Arizona has seen a spike in cases in recent weeks, and Pence scaled back the trip before the delay because of the growing amount of infections in the state.
Pence's staff was concerned last weekend about their ability to hold planned public events in Tucson and Yuma due to the outbreak, one administration official said, and decided on Saturday to limit the visit to Phoenix for a much smaller meeting -- a public health briefing with Gov. Doug Ducey (R) and local health-care leaders.
On Monday night, the Secret Service urged Pence's staff to delay the Tuesday trip until Wednesday because at least one agent on the ground had a confirmed case of covid-19 and other agents and federal officers preparing for the Arizona visit were showing signs of illness, according to two administration officials.
The Secret Service needed time to bring in healthy agents and other personnel to replace the ones who were either sick or most likely sick, one of the officials said. The official informed the media that the Secret Service estimated that a total of eight to 10 agents and other officers from sister agencies -- all of whom were helping prepare for Pence's visit to Arizona -- had fallen ill.
This is the second time in recent weeks that Secret Service agents preparing for a White House or Trump campaign event outside Washington have contracted the virus. At least three Secret Service personnel working on the advance team for President Trump's Tulsa rally on June 20 tested positive for the coronavirus. Two agents tested positive hours before the indoor stadium event was held, and dozens of agents who were on site for the rally were ordered to self-quarantine when they arrived home.
Trump was criticized for holding the rally in an area with an increasing number of cases, but he brushed aside the concerns raised by public health officials and urged his supporters to turn out. Far fewer people than expected attended the rally.
Pence has also faced similar criticism over his recent travels as he has sought to get out of Washington and visit areas hit hard by the coronavirus that are also key swing states in the upcoming election, such as Arizona and Florida.
The heightened risk of agents getting sick while they try to prepare for events for Trump and Pence in cities far from Washington has begun to frazzle agents and their families, according to several people who have spoken to agents.
The Secret Service's foremost mission is protecting the safety and health of the president and vice president, as well as 39 members of their family and senior leaders in the administration. (ANI)