"Stopped by to see the great men and women of the Trump-Pence Team today!" Pence's tweet originally read, according to a CNN staffer

By Sean Neumann
June 11, 2020 05:46 PM
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a White House briefing on Feb. 26.

Vice President Mike Pence reportedly tweeted and then deleted a photo Wednesday night that showed members of President Donald Trump's campaign staff not following social distancing recommendations or wearing masks amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Pence, 60, is the head of the White House's coronavirus task force.

Federal health officials on that task force have strongly recommended people wear face masks in public and keep a six-foot distance between themselves and others in order to limit the spread of the respiratory illness, which causes COVID-19.

The pandemic has killed at least 113,000 people in the U.S. over the last four and a half months, according to the New York Times. There have been at least 2,010,900 confirmed cases of the virus across the country.

"Stopped by to see the great men and women of the Trump-Pence Team today!" Pence's tweet originally read, according to a CNN staffer, before the vice president deleted it less than an hour later. "Thank you for all of the hard work, keep it up!"

The photo appeared to be taken at the Trump-Pence campaign's Arlington, Virginia office, CNN reported. The vice president did not have any public events or travel plans laid out in his daily public schedule on Wednesday.

The White House and the Trump re-election campaign did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

The image that Vice President Mike Pence reportedly tweeted and deleted on Wednesday.
Mike Pence/Twitter

Pence and Trump, 73, have been criticized for not abiding by social distancing and other health recommendations during the pandemic.

“The CDC is advising the use of non-medical cloth face covering as an additional voluntary public health measure,” Trump announced in early April, immediately saying afterwards, “It’s voluntary, so you don’t have to do it.”

Both the president and vice president say they are tested daily for the virus and haven't tested positive, though employees in the White House have been infected, including Pence's then-spokeswoman.

Vice President Mike Pence (blue tie) visits the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota, on April 28 and opts not to wear a protective face mask.
Jim Mone/AP/Shutterstock
From left: Elon Musk, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and Vice President Mike Pence all wear masks on May 27 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
NASA/Bill Ingalls

Pence also took heat from critics, health experts and celebrities in late April when he decided not to wear a mask while visiting COVID-19 patients at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

The vice president's decision was also against the clinic's policy.

Craig Spencer, the director of the Global Health in Emergency Medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, called Pence's decision "dangerous & disrespectful." Former longtime Late Show host David Letterman also weighed in, saying that Pence was "taunting people who are ill" by visiting patients without wearing a mask.

The coronavirus task force leader later apologized, saying, "I didn't think it was necessary, but I should have worn a mask at the Mayo Clinic."

Pence did decide to wear a face mask in his following visit to a ventilator plant in his home state, Indiana.

His tweet Wednesday night comes as the Trump 2020 re-election campaign has started to announce live rallies around the country after months with no campaign events.