Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Trump aides are apparently aware of the bad optics of daily COVID-19 testing in an infected West Wing

Trump aides are apparently aware of the bad optics of daily COVID-19 testing in an infected West WingPresident Trump held an event in the Rose Garden on Monday to declare his administration has "prevailed" on testing for COVID-19, under a sign that read: "America leads the world in testing" — which is true in total number of tests but not per capita testing. Americans "should all be able to get a test right now," Trump also said, forcing an official to later clarify Trump meant "everybody who needs a test can get a test." That's also a questionable assertion, but there is one place where coronavirus tests are plentiful: the White House.After a military valet who served Trump food and Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary both tested positive for COVID-19 last week, all West Wing staff was ordered to wear masks starting Monday, and "additional new procedures include daily testing for the majority of West Wing staff," Politico's Nancy Cook reports. "White House aides are deeply aware the president's message urging states to reopen their economies does not mesh with the optics of the virus spreading throughout the West Wing."Monday's press conference was "much more a split screen moment" than the White House intended, Cook said, "with aides wearing masks in the Rose Garden and Trump basically declaring mission accomplished." That "startling sight served only to further highlight the challenge the president faces in instilling confidence in a nation still reeling from the pandemic," The Associated Press reports. And aides are "nervous" that Trump's "reopening message will fall apart this week if there are more confirmed cases" in what's supposed to be the safest office in the world, Cook adds. They are also nervous about catching the virus themselves in the cramped West Wing — especially those too junior to get tested every day.Trump, "a total germaphobe," is rattled, too, a former administration official tells The Washington Post. "He has been concerned that there are people who have been in close quarters and nearby him who are infected. His principal method has been, 'I'll make sure everyone around me is tested and then I don't have to take precautions.' Now that some of them tested positive, that has real consequences."More stories from theweek.com 1 of these 7 women will likely be Joe Biden's running mate The dark decade ahead How Trump lost his Electoral College edge to Biden




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