Vice President Pence will be protected by a Plexiglas barrier during Wednesday night’s vice presidential debate in Utah against Sen. Kamala Harris — in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The news comes after the vice president’s team was cleared to take part in the debate by CDC director Robert Redfield, who signed off on a memo Tuesday evening saying Pence posed no risk by participating in an in-person capacity.
“After a detailed discussion with Dr. Shonau about his investigation and the serial negative testing results of the Vice President, the CDC concludes from a public health standpoint, it is safe for the Vice President to participate in the upcoming Vice-Presidential debate,” Redfield wrote.
Concerns have mounted following President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis last Friday, which resulted in a four-day hospital stay for the commander-in-chief.
Pence, who has repeatedly tested negative for Covid-19, found himself at odds with the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates earlier this week over their decision to erect Plexiglas barriers to protect the two candidates and the moderator, Susan Page of USA Today.
After the CPD announced their decision for the Salt Lake City event, Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, told the Washington Post that the team viewed the barriers as medically unnecessary, arguing that the candidates were both tested daily and would be separated by 12 feet on stage.
“If she wants it, she’s more than welcome to surround herself with Plexiglas if that makes her feel more comfortable. It’s not needed,” he told the newspaper.
After continued requests from Team Harris and Page, however, Short told the paper that while they maintained their position that the Plexiglas was unnecessary, they had agreed to it regardless.
A Pence spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment. A Trump campaign representative also declined to immediately respond.
The use of Plexiglas first gained attention over the weekend, when South Carolina Senate hopeful Jaime Harrison brought his own clear barrier to protect himself during his Saturday night debate against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
While glass partitions were not utilized at last week’s face-off between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, the commander-in-chief had not yet tested positive for the novel virus.
At the time, both candidates had their podiums placed over six feet apart to promote social distancing, and the two men did not shake hands.
It is not clear what changes will need to be made to next week’s presidential showdown in Miami, Fla., as a result of his diagnosis.
With Post wires