White House chief of staff Mark Meadows refused to wear his face mask while speaking to reporters Monday outside the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
Meadows has spent several days in close proximity to President Donald Trump, who is reportedly also refusing to wear a mask in the White House even though he was diagnosed with COVID-19 just over 10 days ago.
Meadows’ exposure to Trump since the president was discharged from Walter Reed hospital could make him a strong candidate for contracting COVID-19 and possibly being infectious. Meadows last tested negative for the coronavirus a week ago, NBC News reported.
Before speaking to journalists in the hallway during a break in the hearing, Meadows pulled a microphone stand away from them — and removed his face mask. When CNN reporter Kristin Wilson objected, Meadows replied: “I’m more than 10 feet away,”
Then he immediately left in a huff back to the hearing room, announcing: “I’m not going to talk through a mask.”
Video of Capitol Hill reporters insisting WH Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wear a mask while talking with them and Meadows deciding he won’t talk to reporters if he has to wear a mask. pic.twitter.com/kDX10BLDnk
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) October 12, 2020
At the hearing, Meadows and White House counsel Pat Cipplone sat in the front row — wearing masks.
Meadows apparently missed the alert last week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the coronavirus can be spread through aerosols, which “can linger in the air for minutes to hours” and travel farther than six feet, especially indoors.
The record on coronavirus prevention at the White House is abysmal.
Three White House reporters have tested positive for COVID-19 since the White House superspreader event at the Rose Garden on Sept. 26 when Trump announced Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Almost none of the 200-some guests there wore masks or maintained social distancing. Days later, the president, first lady Melania Trump and more than 35 other people linked to the event or to people attending tested positive for the coronavirus.
Meadows hosted his daughter’s large wedding in Georgia with some 70 guests at an indoor reception in May. Few guests wore masks, and the event flouted state regulations limiting crowds and requiring social distancing.
Critics on Twitter bashed Meadows’ dangerous behavior. Physicians noted that the Trump White House just doesn’t “get” aerosol transmission of COVID — or else, refuses to acknowledge it.
“I refuse to give information to the American people about what’s going on in their government unless I can also infect reporters at the same time.”
— Adam Stein (@adamstein) October 12, 2020
White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, makes a big dramatic show of refusing to 'talk through a mask' to reportersOf all hills to die on .. Mark Meadows just has to pick this one?How bizarre and rude and obnoxious and ignorant and belligerent!#TrumpVirusDeathToll215K
— Sabrina McDaniel (@Sabrina_McDa) October 12, 2020
We are a military family with so many who stood on the frontlines of war to keep others safe and here is an employee of the government too fragile to talk with a thin piece of fabric on his face. Such weakness.
— Christina Harbridge (@charbridge) October 12, 2020
The main issue here (#MarkMeadows doesn’t get) is: #Coronavirus is airborne—“aerosols.”Not the heavier droplets, that fall to the ground within 6 feet.So the reporters are right. He could still get them sick, not wearing a mask. https://t.co/qRIxVKdcjL
— Joe Hunt (@joexhunt) October 12, 2020
In refusing journalist's request for an interview with #MarkMeadows to be masked, Meadows expressing in real time the lack of concern for the health of the American people and absence of even decent manners that has been an earmark of this administration from the beginning.
— Anne Slifkin (@ASNC20) October 12, 2020
.@MarkMeadows is:• Passive-Aggressive AF• Putting others at risk• Unethical• Displaying a Child-like emotional response• Evading Press/his responsibility• Manipulative• Is figuring out which lifeboat he's going to crawl on• Displaying his lack of Impulse Control https://t.co/AJIkD8pIbO
— Dr. Jack Brown (@DrGJackBrown) October 12, 2020
Really Mark Meadows? I talk through a mask all day long teaching high school students. Give me a break… pic.twitter.com/01YEKRSXlo
— Peggy Marko Grasso (@MarkoGrasso) October 12, 2020
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