The vice president triggered a wave of speculation about pink eye during Wednesday’s debate.
Vice President Mike Pence ignited speculation about his health when he arrived at the only vice presidential debate Wednesday night with a bloody left eye, but a senior administration official on Thursday said there’s no reason to be concerned.
White House doctors have cleared the vice president of a conjunctivitis infection, commonly known as pink eye, and believe Pence suffered from a broken blood vessel instead, according to the official.
Progressive activists and the prominent conservative news aggregator Matt Drudge were quick to seize on Pence’s abnormally bloodshot appearance as he sparred with Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris at the University of Utah. On Wednesday night and throughout Thursday morning, the lead headline on Drudge Report, a popular conservative news portal, read “PENCE BLOODY EYE RAISES ALARMS” and was accompanied by a close-up image of the vice president’s face.
“The pink eye is mysterious,” Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden tweeted during the debate, one of thousands of users to remark on his appearance.
Pence arrived in Salt Lake City on Monday, the same day President Donald Trump was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center following his three-day hospitalization for a Covid-19 infection. Though the vice president has repeatedly tested negative for the coronavirus, including before Wednesday’s debate, he participated in multiple events in recent weeks with White House aides and Republican senators who have since tested positive themselves.