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Food Execs Asked To Remove Face Masks In Meeting With Mike Pence

Participants in a roundtable with Vice President Mike Pence were asked to remove their masks before he took to the stage.

A strange, but altogether unsurprising request from this administration, especially so since two of the executives were from Tyson Foods in Waterloo, Iowa. Tyson Foods has one of the worst outbreaks of coronavirus of any meatpacking facility in the country, with over 1000 confirmed cases and several deaths among their workforce. A show of solidarity would not have been out of place, but not so for this administration. Tyson foods was reopened last Thursday by executive order from Trump.

Source: The Intercept

MIKE PENCE WAS unmasked in Iowa on Friday, attending two events without covering his face, even though public health officials say masks slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus and one of the vice president’s aides tested positive for Covid-19 just before he departed Washington.

Two days later, the recklessness of that behavior came into sharper focus as Bloomberg News reported that Pence had decided to self-isolate at his home in Washington over the weekend — skipping a White House meeting with military leaders on Saturday — because his press secretary, Katie Miller, had tested positive for the virus on Friday. Miller did not accompany Pence to Iowa, but if his exposure to her before the trip made his self-isolation necessary the next day, that made his decision to spend Friday meeting at least 19 officials, food industry executives and religious leaders in Iowa, unmasked, all the more questionable.

What’s more, a live video stream of the second event Pence attended on Friday, a roundtable discussion with food industry leaders in Des Moines, showed that all five of the invited guests arrived wearing masks but were asked to remove them shortly before the vice president joined them on stage.

Two of those executives, Ken Sullivan of Smithfield Foods and Noel White of Tyson Foods, run meatpacking plants where hundreds of workers have contracted Covid-19, including a Tyson plant in Waterloo, Iowa where more than a third of the workforce — 1,031 people — has tested positive and at least three workers have died. The Tyson plant in Waterloo was reopened on Thursday following an executive order from President Donald Trump that designated the meat supply “critical infrastructure.”

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