Jimmy Kimmel reacted Thursday night to a video of Vice President Mike Pence caught on a hot mic during a trip to deliver personal protective equipment to a healthcare center amid the coronavirus pandemic, seemingly joking, “Can I carry the empty ones, just for the camera?”
“The Captain of the Space Force was in Alexandria, Virginia today,” Kimmel deadpanned. “Here he is with no mask on, wheeling boxes of PPEs into a healthcare center and doing his best to lift them. What a hero — just barely in the door. Since it was going so well, and also because he didn’t realize he had a mic on, Magic Mike decided to keep it going. Listen in closely here…”
He rolled the clip of Pence, which cut off earlier than other outlets’ footage of the moment. In longer versions, those around Pence — also maskless — laugh at what is obviously a throwaway line. (A representative for Pence’s office didn’t immediately return a request for comment.)
“Mike Pence pretending to carry empty boxes of PPEs into a hospital is the perfect metaphor for who he is and what he’s doing,” Kimmel said of the vice president’s quip, who was put in charge of the coronavirus response in February. “A big box of nothing delivering another box of nothing.”
While Pence made mention of staging a photo-op Thursday, one news network faced more serious accusations of doing so. Earlier in the day, CBS News was accused by right-wing activist group Project Veritas of staging a scene to exaggerate the strain of the coronavirus to hospitals and the severity of the pandemic. The Project Veritas report relied on footage of cars lined up as occupants waited for coronavirus tests in Michigan and a reported hospital insider claiming CBS News crews staged it. CBS News released a statement that the center’s staff had acted without the organization’s knowledge and those portions of the report would be removed.
“These allegations are deeply disturbing. We reached out to Cherry Health to address them immediately. They informed us for the first time that one of their chief officers told at least one staffer to get in the testing line along with real patients,” said a statement from CBS News.
Watch Kimmel’s comments at the beginning of the video above.