Mike Pence

Vice President Pence wore a face mask to a public briefing on Tuesday where the message from the surgeon general and others was clear: Americans should to do the same while in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Pence appeared at the U.S. Health Service Commission Corps headquarters in Rockville, Md., joined by other members of the White House's coronavirus task force, including Surgeon General Jerome Adams.

The vice president and others removed their masks only when delivering remarks.

A day after defending his right to hold campaign events in the midst of spikes in coronavirus cases, Vice President Pence and the Trump campaign are postponing two events he was to headline next week in Florida and Arizona.

The states are two of the hardest hit in recent days, and health officials have encouraged people to avoid large in-person gatherings. The events have been postponed "out of an abundance of caution," two campaign officials told NPR.

It's a remarkable reversal for Pence, who on Friday forcefully defended his plan to move forward with the campaign events.

Marc Short, the chief of staff to Vice President Pence, owns between $506,043 and $1.64 million worth of individual stocks in companies doing work related to the Trump administration's pandemic response — holdings that could run afoul of conflict of interest laws.

Updated at 2:05 p.m. ET Sunday

Three members of the White House's coronavirus task force, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, are quarantining themselves after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, and Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have decided to self-quarantine for two weeks.

Updated on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. ET

President Trump said he had planned to wind down the White House coronavirus task force, but now plans to add two or three new members by Monday, noting he had received "calls from very respected people" to keep it going.

Trump said the task force would continue "indefinitely" and made clear its focus would be on "opening the country." Some members of the task force, such as people who worked on increasing the supply of ventilators, "may be less involved," he said.

Vice President Mike Pence said during a televised town hall on Sunday that he should have worn a mask while visiting the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota last week, in what was an apparent violation of the renowned health center's stated policy.

When President Trump tapped Vice President Mike Pence to lead the coronavirus task force in late February, it was a moment of growing pressure. Stocks were tanking, and Trump needed to show he was elevating the federal response to the pandemic.

A former Trump White House aide says Pence was the obvious choice, one of the few people left in the administration that Trump trusts, and someone with the stature to coordinate across agencies.

Vice President Pence responded to criticisms that he defied Mayo Clinic policy by not wearing a mask during his visit Tuesday to the campus, saying he complied with federal guidelines and felt it was his duty to speak to workers at the facility unencumbered by a facial covering.

"As vice president of the United States, I'm tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus," he told reporters, saying he is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Vice President Pence says comments he made last month about coronavirus testing were misunderstood by the public.

At issue: test distribution versus test completion.

Pence joined President Trump on Monday to announce a federal "blueprint" to help states ramp up their testing of the virus. Testing is seen as crucial for states to begin to lift social and economic restrictions.

Vice President Pence is slated to leave the confines of Washington twice this week — the latest in a series of trips the White House is using as test runs for President Trump to get back on the road after the coronavirus brought political travel to a screeching halt.

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