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Pence Heads To Utah For Campaign As Trump Continues COVID-19 Treatment

Vice President Pence, with his wife, Karen Pence, speaks to reporters Monday at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland en route to Utah.
Jacquelyn Martin
Vice President Pence, with his wife, Karen Pence, speaks to reporters Monday at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland en route to Utah.

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

Vice President Pence delivered brief remarks to reporters on Monday at Joint Base Andrews — less than an hour after President Trump announced he was leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center later in the day.

It was the first time Pence has spoken publicly since Thursday when Trump tested positive for the coronavirus. (Pence had traveled to Nebraska for campaign events on Thursday.)

"I spoke to the president a little while back, and he sounded great. And as the American people learned a little while ago, President Trump is going home tonight. So we're headed to Utah for the vice presidential debate," Pence said.

"When the president told me he was headed back to the White House, he told me to head to Utah. And we're looking very much forward to the vice presidential debate."

Pence will debate Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday in Salt Lake City.

The Pence family all arrived off Marine Two wearing masks. Pence removed his to speak to the press but was at least 6 feet away.

Pence, who has tested negative for the virus, worked from home over the weekend rather than go into the White House complex.

So far, at least a dozen of Trump's close associates have tested positive for the coronavirus since a largely maskless, tightly packed event Sept. 26 at the White House Rose Garden. On Monday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who as recently as Sunday addressed reporters while not wearing a mask, tested positive for the virus.

Trump, who was admitted last weekto Walter Reed after testing positive for the virus, remains in the hospital and tweeted Monday he would be discharged later in the day.

"Don't let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge," he said in a tweet. "I feel better than I did 20 years ago!"

Trump's doctors have downplayed the facts surrounding the president's diagnosis and have given vague and at time contradictory information about the severity of his symptoms. They have treated Trump with remdesivir therapy, an intravenous antiviral drug, and the steroid dexamethasone, which is typically used to treat coronavirus patients who are in need of oxygen.

Over the weekend, Trump briefly left the hospital to wave at supporters outside the medical center.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Alana Wise joined WAMU in September 2018 as the 2018-2020 Audion Reporting Fellow for . Selected as one of 10 recipients nationwide of the Audion Reporting Fellowship, Alana works in the WAMU newsroom as part of a national reporting project and is spending two years focusing on the impact of guns in the Washington region.
Alana Wise
Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.