Second lady Karen Pence was seen sans mask at the vice presidential debate on Wednesday, standing beside her husband at the end of the night with her face fully exposed despite coronavirus safety rules dictating otherwise.
Upon the start of the debate, moderator Susan Page announced the pandemic provisions put in place to Vice President Mike Pence, Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and the audience. Page noted that there were social distancing restrictions and that anyone in the audience must wear a mask.
Karen Pence had been wearing a mask while seated in the audience, but at the debate’s conclusion, she joined her husband on stage to wave to the crowd alongside Harris’s husband, Douglas Emhoff. Emhoff notably had on a mask as he stood beside Harris, but Karen Pence took hers off.
The outward defiance to the protocols comes just a week after the first presidential debate, where many members of the Trump family failed to wear their masks while seated in the audience. They had been asked by Cleveland Clinic employees to put masks on and refused. Days later, both President Donald Trump and Melania Trump were diagnosed with COVID-19.
Many were quick to note Karen Pence’s lack of a mask on stage and pointed it out on social media.
On MSNBC after the debate, Rachel Maddow slammed her inability to follow the rules.
“His wife did not wear a mask when she was on-stage at the end. Everybody other than the candidates and the moderator were supposed to be wearing a mask. Karen Pence was not wearing a mask at the end,” said Maddow. “You know what? You could save lives if you would do that. You might, in fact, be saving somebody’s life in the room right now if, in fact, your husband was exposed to a COVID-infected person in the past week, which he was.”
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