White House aides and officials continued to blatantly ignore medical advice and remained maskless Friday even as some of them discussed President Donald Trump contracting COVID-19.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and even Trump’s health adviser Dr. Scott Atlas mingled with people at the White House complex without wearing masks or even having one on their necks to use.
Top economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters at the White House how important “masking” is — but he didn’t have one. Kudlow put one on when a reporter pointed out the discrepancy.
Top White House aide Johnny McEntee, who was standing close to Trump on Thursday, was also spotted without a mask on the White House grounds Friday — on his way to get a COVID-19 test, according to CNN.
When CNN reporter Jim Acosta asked why he wasn’t wearing a mask, Meadows indicated that he didn’t need one because “obviously, I’ve been tested, and we’re hopefully more than six feet away.” (Check out the video clip up top.)
He also insisted, “We have protocols in place” — which apparently didn’t involve face masks, personal protective equipment strongly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
White House protocol clearly failed to prevent the president from contracting the coronavirus. And Meadows could have been exposed to COVID-19 and become contagious since his test. In addition, the rapid test the White House relies on is often not accurate soon after exposure to the coronavirus and prior to the onset of symptoms. Meadows had been in close proximity to Trump for several days.
Besides the potential to risk someone else’s life, White House officials’ refusal to wear a mask also sets a dangerous example, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) pointed out.
He called Meadows’s decision not to wear a mask the same day Trump was rushed to Walter Reed Hospital for treatment of COVID-19 “disturbing.”
It “doesn’t appear to me that the White House has gotten the message,” Murphy told CNN. “They seem to still be playing way too fast and loose with the CDC guidelines, and that’s a really dangerous message.”
Unbelievably, masks are still not required on the White House grounds.
Trump spokesperson John Deere insisted to The New York Times that “encouraging” the use of face masks and social distancing, as well as the availability of hand sanitizer and testing, “ensure[s] exposure is limited to the greatest extent possible.”
Fox News host Chris Wallace, who moderated the presidential debate between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday, urged Americans in a Fox interview: “Wear the damn mask.”
“Follow the science,” Wallace said on “Fox & Friends.” “If I could say one thing to all of the people out there watching: Forget the politics. This is a public safety health issue.”
Epidemiologist Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, called it “inevitable” that more people at the White House will test positive for COVID-19.
He suspects cases may be linked to the Supreme Court nomination event last Saturday in the Rose Garden for Amy Coney Barrett, where few wore masks and many shook hands. Barrett had COVID-19 earlier this year.
The president of the University of Notre Dame, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, who attended the Rose Garden event, has tested positive for the coronavirus. So has Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who met with Barrett at the White House at that time. The president and the first lady also attended.
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