Vice President Mike Pence has tested negative for COVID-19, his press secretary announced.
VP Press Secretary Devin O’Malley released the news in a tweet. He said Pence “remains in good health and wishes the Trumps well in their recovery.”
The news is a welcome break for Republicans after President Trump and the First Lady announced they had tested positive for COVID-19. Vice President Pence is next in line in the chain of command, followed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
This spring, Vice President Pence had to take precautions after his then-press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive for the virus. Pence denied reports that he was self-isolating then.
As the chairman of the White House’s coronavirus task force, Pence is arguably the voice of the administration’s pandemic response. The task force has faded from the spotlight after Pence announced that they would begin winding it down to focus on reopening the country.
Pence’s involvement in the task force offered a showcase for his managerial abilities, which Trump repeatedly praised. When he was appointed to chair the task force, Pence cited his experience as governor of Indiana containing an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
But the president soon took over the task force briefings for Pence, overshadowing the vice president’s messaging.
“It makes sense to have somebody like Pence involved, but it does present risks for any vice president with this kind of problem,” Joel Goldstein, a vice presidential scholar, told NPR. “And it has particular risks when, you know, your president operates the way Trump does.”
Pence will likely continue to be a steady presence in the administration as President Trump wrestles with the coronavirus. His wife, Second Lady Karen Pence, also tested negative.