Vice President Mike Pence has postponed campaign events in Florida and Arizona “out of an abundance of caution” as both states experience a spike in coronavirus cases, a Trump campaign spokesperson confirmed Saturday.
Pence was set to make stops in each state this coming week as a part of his “Faith in America” tour, and will also not appear at an additional Florida event Thursday organized by pro-Trump group America First Policies.
The White House confirmed Pence will still travel to both states to meet with governors and their health care teams, as well as travel to Texas on Sunday where he is scheduled to speak at a Dallas church led by Pastor Robert Jeffress, an ally of President Donald Trump and a member of Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board.
The decision to cancel the events comes after Florida and Arizona hit a new daily record of Covid-19 cases, which have caused officials in both states to halt — and even rollback — their reopening plans. Florida reported 9,585 new infections on Saturday, while Arizona recorded 3,591, according to the states’ public health departments.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott both moved on Friday to control their states’ increase in cases by shutting down bars. Texas also placed new restrictions on other businesses the governor said were linked to the virus’s resurgence.
Pence led the return of the White House coronavirus task force briefing on Friday, defending the Trump campaign’s decision to hold in-person events during a pandemic by invoking the First Amendment’s guarantees of free speech.
“We have an election coming up this fall,” Pence said. “President Trump and I believe that taking proper steps, as we’ve created screening at recent events, and giving people the very best counsel that we have, we still want to give people the freedom to participate in the political process, and we respect that.”