U.S. President Donald Trump reacts to a question during a news conference in the Briefing Room of the White House on September 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Joshua Roberts/Getty Images
Politicians, public health officials, and commentators are lambasting the White House’s failure to provide adequate contact tracing and guidance for thousands of people whose well-being was jeopardized last week after President Donald Trumptraveled to multiple events around the country, at least one of which he participated in even after knowing that he had been exposed to the coronavirus.
While the contradictory information shared by the Trump administration and medical team about the chronology and status of Trump’s illness has puzzled observers, critics said it is clear that the president chose to expose potentially thousands of people to Covid-19 last week—particularly by interacting with hundreds of guests at a fundraiser he hosted at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf course on Thursday evening—instead of quarantining immediately after the Thursday morning diagnosis of his adviser, Hope Hicks, as Common Dreams reported.
A list obtained by WaPo shows Trump interacted w/ 207 ppl at Bedminster the day he tested positive. He didn’t wear a mask on plane/helicopter after Hicks’ infection. Aides say Trump, others infected were around thousands. And now, little contact tracing. https://t.co/eutW2JqFg5
— Yasmeen Abutaleb (@yabutaleb7) October 4, 2020
“The scope of the damage here is unfathomable,” writer Rebecca Traister tweeted on Saturday.
Not only did Trump and other infected members of his inner circle put possibly thousands of individuals at risk of contracting Covid-19, but according to reportingfrom the Washington Post, “there was little evidence on Saturday that the White House or the campaign had reached out to these potentially exposed people, or even circulated guidance to the rattled staffers within the White House complex.”
“The crisis within a crisis is emblematic of an administration that has often mocked or ignored the coronavirus guidance of its own medical experts,” noted the Post. “In this case, the failure to move swiftly potentially jeopardized the health of their own supporters and those close to them, who might fall ill and unwittingly spread the infection to others.”
Traister pointed out that in addition to Trump’s supporters who voluntarily attended Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination ceremony hosted by the president in the Rose Garden on September 26, his campaign rally in Minnesota on September 30, or his fundraiser in New Jersey on October 1 just hours before the president announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, the families of countless workers who had no choice but to go to these infectious events will be subjected to the medical and financial consequences of the Trump administration’s negligence.
While White House spokesperson Judd Deere claimed Saturday that “contact tracing is underway,” public officials in the states “where Trump held events in recent days… haven’t heard from the White house and are racing largely on there own to find people potentially exposed to the virus,” the Post noted.