White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said it is “scary to go to work” in the White House after several officials were diagnosed with COVID-19 and several others entered self-quarantine to avoid spreading coronavirus.
“It is scary to go to work,” Hassett said on “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “I think that I’d be a lot safer if I was sitting at home than I would be going to the West Wing. But, you know, it’s the time when people have to step up and serve their country.”
At least two members of the Trump administration who typically have close contact with the president have tested positive for coronavirus. On Thursday, the White House revealed that a military valet frequently in contact with President Donald Trump and his family had tested positive for the virus, stoking concerns that the president himself may have been exposed. On Friday, Katie Miller, a spokesperson for Vice President Mike Pence, tested positive for the virus as well.
The White House said Trump tested negative for the virus after his valet’s positive test. An administration official told CNN that it has confirmed that everyone who came in contact with Katie Miller, including senior White House adviser Stephen Miller, her husband, tested negative.
On Saturday, Anthony Fauci, the administration’s top infectious disease expert and a member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, said he would enter “modified quarantine” after coming in contact with a staffer who had COVID-19. The directors of both the Food and Administration and the Centers for Disease Control announced they would begin two-week quarantines on Saturday after being exposed.
Multiple outlets have reported that Trump responded angrily when officials warned him about his exposure to the coronavirus. A source told CNN the president was upset when he was told that his valet tested positive. An administration official told NBC that Trump was “lava level mad” when he heard the news, and the official said Trump claimed his staff isn’t doing enough to protect him.
Trump’s reported private concerns about his personal health don’t match his public statements about the virus. Over the last month, the president and his conservative allies have urged states to defy public health guidelines and swiftly reopen businesses amid the pandemic. He has encouraged protests ― some of them armed ― meant to force governors to scrap their social distancing guidelines, and his administration recently suppressed a CDC report designed to help states determine when to safely reopen businesses, according to the Associated Press.
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