SALT LAKE CITY — Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Salt Lake City Monday evening ahead of Wednesday's debate at the University of Utah.
Just moments before boarding Air Force Two at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, Pence delivered brief remarks — for the first time since President Donald Trump announced he tested positive for COVID-19.
“When the president told me he was headed back to the White House, he told me to head to Utah,” Pence told reporters. “And we are looking very much forward to the vice presidential debate.”
Before taking off, both the he and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus that has infected several members of the president’s staff and three GOP senators, including Utah’s Mike Lee.
Air Force Two landed at the Salt Lake City International Airport around 6:30 p.m.
The vice president was met on the tarmac by Gov. Gary Herbert and 4th Congressional District candidate Burgess Owens.
Air Force 2 on the tarmac. pic.twitter.com/rplGuQEhvt— 𝙹𝚘𝚑𝚗 𝙵𝚛𝚊𝚗𝚌𝚑𝚒 (@JFRANCHIREPORTS) October 6, 2020
The vice president and second lady are staying at the Hotel Monaco in downtown Salt Lake City, where surrounding streets have been blocked off.
Pence will spend the next two days preparing to spar with Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris. Pence said little about the upcoming debate, instead focusing on the president’s battle against COVID-19.
"Karen and I just wanted to express our profound gratitude first to the incredible medical staff at Walter Reed Hospital and at the White House for the care, the concern that they’ve shown for this President and our First Family and all of those impacted on the White House staff," he said. "The stakes in this election have never been higher, the choice has never been clearer, and I look forward to the opportunity to take our case to the American people for four more years for President Donald Trump in the White House."
Harris has been in Salt Lake City since Saturday. Assisting with her debate prep is former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana is reprising the role of the vice president.
It is now full steam ahead for one of the most anticipated vice presidential debates in history.
Neither Pence nor Harris have any public events scheduled between now and Wednesday night, although a source told FOX 13 Pence may be attending a private fundraiser.