Pence staffer says vice president doesn't need plexiglass barrier at debate with Harris

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Vice President Mike Pence reportedly asked that a plexiglass barrier not be placed on his side of the stage during Wednesday’s debate with Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.

The Commission on Presidential Debates approved the use of plastic dividers after President Trump and others within his orbit tested positive for COVID-19. Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, said that his team doesn’t think the barriers are necessary for Wednesday’s face-off given the 12-foot distance between Pence and Harris and other safety measures in place.

Short said that Harris is welcome to have a barrier if she so wishes but indicated that the vice president didn’t need one.

“If she wants it, she’s more than welcome to surround herself with plexiglass if that makes her feel more comfortable,” he told the Washington Post on Tuesday. “It’s not needed.”

Pence’s communications director Katie Miller told the Washington Examiner on Tuesday evening that if Harris “wants to use a fortress around herself, have at it.”

The topic will reportedly be discussed by the Commission on Presidential Debates and the two campaigns later on Tuesday. The Washington Examiner reached out to the Biden campaign for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

Trump returned to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in dramatic fashion on Monday night. He had been being treated at the facility since being taken to the hospital on Friday.

“I just left Walter Reed Medical Center, and it’s really something very special, the doctors, the nurses, the first responders — and I learned so much about coronavirus, and one thing that’s for certain, don’t let it dominate you,” Trump said in a brief speech from outside the White House after his return on Monday.

“Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it. We have the best medical equipment, we have the best medicines, all developed recently,” he added.

Biden’s campaign has said the former vice president is being routinely tested for COVID-19 since Trump’s diagnosis and has thus far tested negative.

Wednesday’s 90-minute vice presidential debate, the only one before Nov. 3, will be hosted by the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. It is set to begin at 9 p.m. EDT.

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