Pence backs down: Aide says he will not preside over Amy Coney Barrett vote after staffers get COVID
Vice President Mike Pence (screengrab)

Vice President Mike Pence has backed down from a decision to preside over a Senate vote on Judge Amy Comey Barrett's confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Over the weekend, Senate Democrats asked Pence to reconsider his decision to attend the Senate vote after at least five of his staffers tested positive for COVID-19.

"With five of your closest aides recently testing positive for COVID-19, it is not a risk worth taking. We ask you to reconsider," Democratic senators said in a letter to Pence. "Not only would your presence in the Senate Chamber tomorrow be a clear violation of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, it would also be a violation of common decency and courtesy."

"Nothing about your presence in the Senate tomorrow can be considered essential. You will not need to cast the deciding vote to break a tie. Your presence tomorrow would be purely ceremonial," the senators added.

By Monday morning, an aide for Pence revealed that the vice president would not preside over the Senate vote.

“Vice President Pence is campaigning in Minnesota today. The VP is not planning to be at the Senate tonight unless his vote is needed,” the statement from Pence's office said.