The White House has gone to extraordinary lengths to withhold critical information about Trump’s health, even after he contracted a deadly virus



a close up of a person: Getty


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Getty

  • The White House has consistently lacked transparency when it comes to President Donald Trump’s health, especially since he contracted COVID-19.
  • Multiple officials have refused to say when the last time Trump tested negative for the virus was, raising questions as to what they could be hiding.
  • The White House has also been opaque about a mysterious trip Trump took to Walter Reed last November.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

There has been an extreme lack of transparency from the White House when it comes to President Donald Trump’s health, even after he contracted COVID-19. 

The Trump administration has consistently dodged questions on when Trump’s last negative COVID-19 test was, which is vital information in terms of who the president may have exposed and precisely when he was infected. The White House has said Trump was diagnosed on October 1, but the administration’s refusal to say when the president’s last test was has raised suspicions about what they could be hiding.

“I don’t want to go backwards,” White House physician Sean Conley said on Monday when asked about Trump’s last negative test. Conley was the target of media criticism last weekend after he initially avoided other questions on Trump’s health, including whether the president had received supplemental oxygen. 

Prior to Trump’s diagnosis, the White House routinely announced when the president tested negative for the virus, but now it’s treating the matter as if it’s top secret. White House strategic communications director Alyssa Farah on Thursday said the information was Trump’s “private medical history.”

“The doctors would like to keep it private since it’s his private medical history,” Farah said.

On Thursday night, Trump was asked by Fox News’ Sean Hannity if he’s tested negative for COVID-19 in the time since he was diagnosed. The president did not answer the question, making it unclear whether he’s still COVID-19 positive as he pushes to get back on the campaign trail and hold rallies. 

In an MSNBC interview on Friday, White House deputy press secretary Brian Morgenstern would not answer when pressed on when Trump’s last negative test was and contended the information is not valuable to the public.

“The president doesn’t check all of his HIPAA rights at the door just when he becomes president,” Morgenstern said. “The doctors obviously share fulsome information with the president. The president shares a great deal of information with the American public.”

“There is a reason to share certain information. It is to prevent further transmission of the virus, it’s public health purposes, and that’s what we’re doing,” Morgenstern added. 

As Insider previously reported, the last time Trump said he tested negative for COVID-19 was in May.

Insider’s Jake Lahut and Oma Seddiq asked the White House repeatedly on Thursday how often the president is tested, when his last test was, and if it had disclosed any tests taken since May 21.

“The president is tested regularly,” a White House

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Top Democrats accuse White House of withholding information on COVID-19 outbreak

Top Senate Democrats are accusing the White House of “deliberately” withholding information about a coronavirus outbreak after a Rose Garden event, which the lawmakers called a “super spreader.” 

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSchumer and Statehood for Puerto Rico Trump orders aides to halt talks on COVID-19 relief Jewish lawmakers targeted by anti-Semitic tweets ahead of election: ADL MORE (N.Y.) and Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayTop Democrats accuse White House of withholding information on COVID-19 outbreak GOP struggles to play defense on Trump’s ObamaCare lawsuit Poll finds support for independent arbiters resolving ‘surprise’ medical bills MORE (Wash.), the No. 3 Democrat and ranking member of the health committee, sent a letter to White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsFormer GOP chair Michael Steele calls Trump ‘the superspreader’ in the White House Murkowski after Trump halts talks: Congress must move on virus package Overnight Health Care: Trump calls off coronavirus relief talks MORE saying the White House had “conducted itself in a secretive manner and shown a complete lack of regard for public health and safety” after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump and Biden’s plans would both add to the debt, analysis finds Trump says he will back specific relief measures hours after halting talks Trump lashes out at FDA over vaccine guidelines MORE and top staffers tested positive for COVID-19.

“The opaque and secretive handling of information related to these events constitutes an obvious threat to public health and is unacceptable in a free nation whose elected leaders must be transparent with and accountable to the American people,” they added to Meadows. 

Schumer and Murray are asking Meadows to detail what, if any, contact tracing the White House has done in connection to several individuals who tested positive for the coronavirus after attending the Rose Garden event late last month where Trump announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination.

They are also asking for Meadows to provide “complete transparency” on the timeline of the outbreak and what guidance has been given to White House staff. The White House has refused to say when Trump last tested negative.

Trump announced in the middle of the night Thursday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, and he spent the weekend in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a move the White House has said was done out of an abundance of caution. 

But the president’s medical team and the White House have refused to provide key details on the timeline of his illness. 

White House physician Sean Conley told reporters Monday that Trump’s symptoms have continued to improve and that he has met or exceeded all discharge criteria. The president returned to the White House on Monday evening but Conley acknowledged that Trump may not yet be “out of the woods,” underscoring the degree of uncertainty surrounding his condition. 

Conley also refused to answer multiple questions about when Trump last tested negative for the virus, something White House officials have similarly declined to share

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White House press secretary mocks CNN reporter’s basic question about Trump’s healthcare plan and tells her to ‘come work here at the White House’ if she wants information



Sarah Bush holding a sign: Kayleigh McEnany takes a question from CNN's Kaitlan Collins on Wednesday. Screenshot/Fox News


© Screenshot/Fox News
Kayleigh McEnany takes a question from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on Wednesday. Screenshot/Fox News

  • The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, on Wednesday dismissed a CNN reporter’s questions about which administration officials were working on a long-delayed healthcare plan.
  • “I’m not going to give you a readout of what our healthcare plan looks like and who’s working on it,” McEnany told the reporter. “If you want to know, come work here at the White House.”
  • President Donald Trump claimed on Tuesday night that his healthcare plan was “all ready” to be revealed, but it’s unclear when that will happen. The US election is 48 days away.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, on Wednesday refused to say which administration officials were working on a healthcare plan that President Donald Trump has long promised to unveil and recently said was “all ready.”

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During the White House press briefing, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins pointed out that three top healthcare officials in the Trump administration had said during testimony before a Senate committee that they were unaware of Trump’s Obamacare replacement plan.

“Today on Capitol Hill, the three top medical experts in this administration said they have no idea of any kind of plan that’s being formulated,” Collins said. “So who is it that is working on the healthcare plan that’s going to be introduced before the election?”

McEnany responded that “a wide array” of White House officials and “multiple stakeholders,” including the Domestic Policy Council, were working on the plan.

Dismissing Collins’ follow-up questions, the press secretary told the reporter she should come work at the White House if she wanted to find out who specifically was involved in the effort to replace the Affordable Care Act.

“I’m not going to give you a readout of what our healthcare plan looks like and who’s working on it,” McEnany said. “If you want to know, come work here at the White House.”

Describing the nonpublic plan as “the president’s vision for the next five years,” McEnany ticked off a vague list of its tenets.

“In aggregate, it’s going to be a very comprehensive strategy, one where we’re saving healthcare while Democrats are trying to take healthcare away, where we’re making healthcare better and cheaper, guaranteeing protections for people with preexisting conditions, stopping surprise medical billing, increasing transparency, defending the right to keep your doctor and your plan, fighting lobbyists and special interests, and making healthier — and finding cures to diseases,” she said.

The president has falsely claimed dozens of times that he has protected Americans with preexisting conditions. In reality, his administration is battling in court to overturn Obamacare, which protects those Americans; overturning the law would strip millions of people of healthcare.

The Republican Party failed to repeal and replace Obamacare — despite promising for years to do so — when it controlled both the Senate and the House in 2017 and 2018.

During a town hall on Tuesday night,

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House Democrats seek information on $250 million contract on coronavirus PR campaign

In new letters, House Democrats are demanding new documents about the Department of Health and Human Services’ $250 million contract with a marketing firm handling a campaign on coronavirus that Democrats say they want to ensure does not go to propping up the President’s reelection campaign.



a clock tower in front of a building: The Capitol dome is seen early Wednesday morning before Amb. William Taylor And Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State George Kent testify at the first public impeachment hearing before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill November 13, 2019 in Washington, DC.


© Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images
The Capitol dome is seen early Wednesday morning before Amb. William Taylor And Deputy Assistant Secretary Of State George Kent testify at the first public impeachment hearing before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill November 13, 2019 in Washington, DC.

The contract, which was advertised over the summer to help the administration “defeat despair and inspire hope” surrounding coronavirus, according to the performance work document sent to communication firms and first reported by Politico in August, is valued at a quarter of a billion dollars.

The House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, Jim Clyburn, the chairman of the select committee on coronavirus and Raja Krishnamoorthi, a subcommittee chairman, sent letters to both Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Ben Garthwaite, the chief executive officer for Fors Marsh Group, the market research firm that ultimately got the contract.

“We have grave concerns that, rather than focus on planning and executing a national strategy to contain the coronavirus, the Trump Administration is using a quarter of a billion dollars in taxpayer money to fund what appears to be a political propaganda campaign just two months before a presidential election,” House Democrats wrote in their letters.

Democrats also wrote “to address the despair many Americans are experiencing during this pandemic, the Administration needs to be honest about the risks Americans face and promote science-based solutions –not political spin — to finally contain the virus and prevent more unnecessary infections and deaths.”

“The public relations firm hired by HHS will report to Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Michael Caputo, who is a former campaign operative for President Trump and not a public health professional,” the letters say.

The letters come just days after a new audio recordings between President Donald Trump and journalist Bob Woodward revealed the President purposefully downplayed the severity of the coronavirus back in March.

“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward on March 19, even as he had declared a national emergency over the virus days earlier. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

It’s not unprecedented for an administration to use a marketing or public relations firm to help craft a message or conduct research about public health. Fors Marsh lists on its websites several previous campaigns it worked on with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Food and Drug Administration on issues related to childhood asthma and rural health habits. And when former President Barack Obama was trying to educate and sell Americans on the Affordable Care Act, the administration spent millions on advertising to get people to sign up.

Still, House Democrats are requesting

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