CEOs Asked to Remove Masks at Iowa Roundtable Before Pence, Governor Arrived

Coronavirus Impacting Iowa

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a roundtable with agriculture and food supply leaders about steps being taken to ensure the food supply remains secure in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Friday, May 8, 2020, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

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(WHBF) — The same day his press secretary tested positive for COVID-19, Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Iowa without a mask, and a video shows the CEOs he met with at a public roundtable were asked to remove theirs as well.

A video first posted by The Intercept shows Ron Cameron of Mountaire Farms, Ken Sullivan of Smithfield Foods, Rodney McMullen of Kroger, Noel White of Tyson Foods and Zippy Duvall, the president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, being asked to remove their masks before Pence and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds arrived — maskless — at the roundtable

All five attending the roundtable, hosted at HyVee headquarters in West Des Moines, Iowa, complied.

The CDC has recommended masks in public since mid-April. The meat-processing plants that two of the CEOs represent have been among the hardest-hit industries in Iowa and surrounding states.

After returning from Iowa, Pence spent the weekend at home.

The vice president’s trip to Iowa was delayed by about an hour Friday after his press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive.

Sen. Joni Ernst, who flew back to Iowa with Pence on Air Force 2, did not plan to self-isolate, nor did Sen. Chuck Grassley, who also was on the plane.

Pence came under fire late last month when he chose not to wear a mask during a tour of the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, a violation of the medical center’s policy.

Pence later told Fox News Channel, “I didn’t think it was necessary, but I should have worn a mask at the Mayo Clinic.”

Reynolds, who has repeatedly told Iowans in her daily COVID-19 news conferences not to go out unless they have to, traveled to Washington D.C. on Wednesday with Iowa Department of Public Heath Medical Director Dr. Caitlin Pedati to meet with Pence and President Donald Trump.

According to Bloomberg News, Reynolds is considering self-isolating, while Pedati is already doing so.

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