Essential personnel

So Pence’s staff is riddled with coronavirus.

At least five people in Vice President Mike Pence’s orbit have tested positive for coronavirus in recent days, including chief of staff Marc Short and outside adviser Marty Obst, a source familiar with the situation told CNN.

Despite the slew of coronavirus cases around him, Pence — who is the head of the White House’s coronavirus task force — is not quarantining, as per US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Instead, he plans to continue traveling and campaigning in the final stretch to Election Day.

Because, you know, the hell with CDC guidelines, the hell with safety, the hell with everything except the self-interest of Trump and his dummy.

The developments raise new questions about safety protocols and transparency within the White House as the pandemic has killed more than 224,000 Americans.

Questions like: “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?”

The news comes just over a week before Election Day amid a blitz of campaign stops for Pence, who leads the White House coronavirus task force, including the vice president’s trips to Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire in the last week.

Pandemic or no pandemic! Skyrocketing rate of new infections or not! Winning is all!

“Today, Marc Short, Chief of Staff to the Vice President, tested positive for COVID-19, began quarantine and assisting in the contact tracing process,” Pence’s press secretary Devin O’Malley said in a statement Saturday. “Vice President Pence and Mrs. Pence both tested negative for COVID-19 today, and remain in good health.”

The statement continued, “While Vice President Pence is considered a close contact with Mr. Short, in consultation with the White House Medical Unit, the Vice President will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel.”

Uh huh. I’m sure the CDC guidelines say that campaigning for office is essential and well worth infecting thousands of people.

As President Donald Trump returned to Washington shortly after midnight from campaign appearances in Ohio, he said he had heard about Short’s diagnosis.

“He’s going to be fine. But he’s quarantining,” Trump said.

Typical Trump. He doesn’t know that Short is going to be fine; he has no way of knowing that. I’m so sick of people who claim to know things they can’t possibly know.

Short has been seen on the campaign trail actively eschewing the use of masks for months, including earlier this week traveling aboard Air Force Two. Neither Pence nor Short wore a mask on Pence’s trip on Thursday and Friday. As chief of staff to Pence, Short has been a key aide involved with the US coronavirus response. He has been reported to have advocated for an economy-first approach to the pandemic.

That is, a let-the-pandemic-rage approach to the pandemic. From the people in charge of the pandemic. Brilliant.

Short was a driving force against following the advice of the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, on the pandemic, a source familiar with discussions inside the coronavirus task force told CNN. Short would routinely push back on Fauci during task force meetings, believing the doctor’s concerns about Covid-19 were overblown, the source said. That attitude was prevalent throughout much of the Pence team, according to the source.

Well it’s easy to see why they would think Fauci’s concerns were overblown, if they never ever looked at the numbers.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidance that says people should stay home for 14 days after having contact with a person who has Covid-19.

Yebbut they’re just civil servants, who should probably all be fired.

Despite Pence being in close contact with Short as recently as Friday, the vice president plans to continue campaigning. Late Saturday, the vice president’s office released his schedule for Sunday, which includes more travel and remarks at a campaign rally in North Carolina.

Remember: this is the guy in charge of the coronavirus task force. I guess that means in charge of making sure it doesn’t do anything.

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