Trump admin warned veterans group of COVID-19 exposure: report

  • The White House reached out to a veterans organization to warn of potential COVID-19 exposure from a September 27 event honoring the families of fallen US service members, The Daily Beast reported. 
  • The warning was sent on October 2, the same day President Donald Trump announced he tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • The event was held the day after an event formally announcing Trump’s Supreme Court pick on September 26.
  • At least a dozen people who attended the Saturday event later tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump’s administration told a veterans group about potential COVID-19 exposure from a September 27 event honoring the families of fallen US service members on October 2, the day that Trump announced his positive coronavirus diagnoses, The Daily Beast reported. 

Timothy Davis, the CEO and President of The Greatest Generations Foundation, told the outlet that he got the notice from the White House’s Office of Public Liaison and that he’s wasn’t sure which person who attended the event’s positive diagnoses prompted the letter. 

“The White House has been in daily contact with TGGF for contact-tracing purposes after alerting us on 10/2 of a possible COVID-positive person at the event so we could know there was a potential our attendees were exposed,” Davis told The Daily Beast. 

The Washington Post reported that Trump and Vice President Mike Pence attended the event. Trump along with at least a dozen officials and staff in the White House have tested positive for COVID-19. 

On Monday, Adm. Charles W. Ray, the vice commandant of the Coast Guard, also tested positive for the virus. Ray attended the event. 

Photos from the event also showed most attendees not wearing masks or socially distancing, The Post reported. 

The event honoring Gold Star families was held a day after more than 150 people gathered in the Rose Garden of the White House for an event where President Donald Trump officially announced his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

At least a dozen people who attended the event, including first lady Melania Trump, White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, Rev. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame University, and two Republican senators, have since tested positive. 

It’s probable that the event was a super-spreading event that might have caused the cluster of cases in the White House.

The Daily Beast reported that attendees at the Sunday event were tested prior to the event, but one source told the outlet that an office in the White House had reached out to other attendees encouraging them to get a test. 

“The communication breakdown during this is even worse than usual,” this source said. “Different departments and offices are not talking or communicating appropriately, people are doing different things, and officials are having trouble getting on the same page. The East Wing and the West Wing are dealing with this totally differently. It’s just a mess.”

TGGF and the White House did not reply to Business Insider’s

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Overnight Energy: Interior watchdog says officials misled Congress | Trump admin finalizes rule on royalty cuts for mining

HAPPY TUESDAY! Welcome to Overnight Energy, The Hill’s roundup of the latest energy and environment news. Please send tips and comments to Rebecca Beitsch at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @rebeccabeitsch. Reach Rachel Frazin at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin.



a group of people on a sidewalk: Overnight Energy: Interior watchdog says officials misled Congress | Trump admin finalizes rule on royalty cuts for mining | Groups pressure Biden to exclude fossil fuel execs


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Overnight Energy: Interior watchdog says officials misled Congress | Trump admin finalizes rule on royalty cuts for mining | Groups pressure Biden to exclude fossil fuel execs

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THE LEAD STORY: Top Interior Department officials misled Congress when they claimed high office rent in Washington, D.C., was a factor in the need to move the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to a new headquarters in Colorado, the agency’s internal watchdog found.

A report on Tuesday from Interior’s Office of Inspector General found that two officials overplayed the cost of BLM’s M Street SE lease near Nationals Park as a motivating factor in the move, as the agency already had plans underway to return to office space owned by the government.

Joseph Balash, a former assistant secretary for land and minerals management who now works in the oil industry, and BLM acting Director William Perry Pendley, whose tenure with the agency is the subject of a lawsuit, are implicated in the report.

Both men wrote in correspondence with Congress that BLM would be unable to stay in its existing M Street SE office because the cost would exceed the $50 per square foot limit set by the government.

The report found the claims were “misleading” and said that “the future lease cost of 20 M Street was irrelevant.”

Interior announced in July 2019 that it would move more than 200 of BLM’s D.C.-based employees to existing offices across the West, while putting nearly 25 of its top-ranking leaders at a new headquarters in Grand Junction, Colo. The move would leave just 61 of BLM’s 10,000 employees in Washington.

The move was considered a victory for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who is facing a tight reelection campaign, but it raised the eyebrows of former BLM employees, who questioned why the agency would leave such a small footprint in D.C. and set up shop in a town four hours from any major airport.

But well before Grand Junction was on the drawing board, BLM was already planning to leave its M Street SE space.

“When we got that lease it was a bargain,” said Steve Ellis, who retired from the highest-ranking career position within BLM in 2016.

“Since we moved people in there, Nationals Park popped up across the street, the area’s become much more popular and built up. That’s a good thing, but it meant the lease would be cost prohibitive when it ended, so we we’re looking around at options.”

Rather than pay more than $50 per square foot, the inspector general found evidence from both 2016 and 2017 that the department “had longstanding plans” to move BLM employees either to the Main Interior Building (MIB) or another federal

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