A Thursday report from The Washington Post claims that Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Phoenix, Arizona, was delayed after multiple Secret Service members contracted coronavirus. According to a Secret Service official, at least eight to 10 agents and officers from sister agencies fell ill.
The trip to Phoenix was initially scheduled for Tuesday but pushed back to Wednesday. The report claimed the move was necessary to ensure that healthy agents could be deployed to take the place of those that either contracted COVID-19 or showed symptoms of infection.
According to The Washington Post, several people who have spoken to Secret Service agents said that the increased risk of them contracting coronavirus has become a source of fear for their loved ones.
Pence spokesman Devin O’Malley released a statement on the claims and declined to address the alleged cause of the delay.
“Instead of highlighting Vice President Pence’s concerted effort with Task Force members to visit and support states with new cases, The Washington Post is choosing to use its pages to report on a story of little use to every day Americans attempting to learn more about how coronavirus affects them or the Administration’s response efforts.”
Before the delay, Pence scaled back the trip amid the state’s recent spike in coronavirus cases. According to a Trump administration official, the visit was initially going to include a more extensive range of meetings. With concerns around the virus’ spread, the trip was scaled down to one small public health briefing with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and local health care leaders.
When pressed on why he needed to travel to Arizona for the briefing, Pence suggested that face-to-face meetings were necessary to properly lead to battle against the pandemic.
“Well, the rising cases here in Arizona is why I’m here. It’s why we brought the White House Coronavirus Task Force here. I’m a real believer, as President Trump is, in — in sitting down with the people that are leading the effort.”
The Washington Post report comes after Secret Service agents working on the advance team for Donald Trump’s Tulsa rally in June tested positive for coronavirus, and two agents tested positive before the indoor event was held.
Pence recently faced another close brush with the virus. As The Inquisitr reported, at least five members of the First Baptist Dallas’ choir and orchestra tested positive for COVID-19. The news came after Pence visited the megachurch for an hour and a half. Before the visit, health officials warned that performances with singing and wind instruments posed a heightened risk for contracting the virus.