Democrats ask Pence not to attend Barrett vote after aides tested positive for COVID-19

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a "Make America Great Again!" campaign event at Oakland County International Airport in Waterford, Michigan, on October 22, 2020.
(Image credit: JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

After several of Vice President Mike Pence's aides tested positive for COVID-19, Democrats are urging him not to attend the Senate's vote on Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court nomination.

Democrats including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote to Pence on Sunday asking him to skip presiding over the Monday vote on Barrett's nomination due to five of his aides recently testing positive for the coronavirus, The Associated Press reports. Pence himself tested negative on Monday, his office said.

"Not only would your presence in the Senate Chamber tomorrow be a clear violation of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, it would also be a violation of common decency and courtesy," the letter says.

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The Democrats go on to say that Pence's presence "would be purely ceremonial" and not "essential," as he will "not need to cast the deciding vote to break a tie" on Barrett's confirmation.

Pence's spokesperson previously said he would not be going into quarantine despite being considered a close contact of Marc Short, his chief of staff who tested positive for COVID-19. The spokesperson said the vice president would "maintain his schedule in accordance with the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines for essential personnel."

White House Strategic Communications Director Alyssa Farah on Monday said Pence would preside over Barrett's confirmation vote, although White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows later said this was "in flux" and he's "not sure what the vice president's plans are for the Senate tonight."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.