Video: Mark Meadows tells reporters he won’t ‘talk through a mask’

  • White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Monday declined to wear a mask when addressing reporters on Capitol Hill. 
  • Walking away without answering any questions, he said, “I’m not going to talk through a mask.”
  • Journalists who cover Capitol Hill lawmakers are calling on congressional leaders to improve access to coronavirus testing and contact tracing, and to wear masks when talking to members of the media.
  • But Meadows, like President Donald Trump and others who work in the White House, continue to flout public health guidelines amid the world’s worst COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows refused to wear his mask on Monday while addressing reporters on Capitol Hill and walked off without taking any questions. 

During the encounter, a CNN congressional reporter, Kristin Wilson, asked Meadows to keep his face covered while speaking, according to Washington Post reporter Seung Min Kim. But Meadows pulled a microphone-outfitted podium closer to himself and took off his mask, to the concern of journalists. 

“Well, I’m more than 10 feet away,” he said.

Seconds later, Meadows put his mask back on and stalked away from the group.

“I’m not going to talk through a mask,” he said.

This incident occurred on the first day of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Health experts have noted that the coronavirus is known to travel several feet in the air, especially indoors, and that mask-wearing is one of the effective ways to prevent transmission. Already, the United States has reported more than 7.7 million cases and 214,000-plus deaths, based on data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Meadows’ refusal comes as representatives for journalists covering Capitol Hill lawmakers are urging congressional leaders to provide more access to testing and contact tracing, and to follow public health guidelines, including wearing masks, when interacting with members of the media.

This request came in reponse to an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in the White House, with several cases linked to Barrett’s nomination ceremony in the Rose Garden on Sept. 26. In the days that followed, the president, first lady, a handful of senators, and several White House aides tested positive for the disease.

Since then, several lawmakers have worn face coverings while talking to reporters on Capitol Hill, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was begun to wear one during her weekly press conferences. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also signaled last week that he hasn’t been to the White House in two months and suggested that the Trump administration’s coronavirus prevention measures are lax.

“My impression was their approach to how to handle this was different than mine and what I insisted that we do in the Senate, which is to wear a mask and practice social distancing,” McConnell said at an event in Kentucky. 

But Meadows’ actions on Monday are in keeping with the White House’s pattern of neglect when it

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White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows ignored virus rules at wedding, report says

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a castle on top of a building: The White House is seen in Washington, early Tuesday, the morning after President Trump returned from the hospital where he was treated for COVID-19.


© J. Scott Applewhite
The White House is seen in Washington, early Tuesday, the morning after President Trump returned from the hospital where he was treated for COVID-19.

President Trump made the stunning announcement that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19 early Friday, Oct. 2. Since that time, several others in Trump’s circle have tested positive for the virus. Here’s the latest about what we know:

  Thursday, Oct. 8 11:56 a.m.  

Democratic nominee Joe Biden will hold event next week in lieu of debate, campaign says

By Christina Prignano, Globe staff

In a statement issued shortly before noon Thursday, the Biden campaign said it would hold its own campaign event next week in lieu of the debate, and called on the Commission on Presidential Debates to move back the town-hall style debate on Oct. 22. The third debate is currently set to be similar in format to the first debate.

Next week’s debate was scheduled to emphasize questions from voters rather than a moderator.

“The voters should have a chance to ask questions of both candidates, directly. Every Presidential candidate since 1992 has participated in such an event, and it would be a shame if Donald Trump was the first to refuse,” deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said in the statement.

  Thursday, Oct. 8 10:07 a.m.  

Trump touts progress in stimulus talks days after spiking them

By Bloomberg News

President Trump said talks on providing additional fiscal stimulus are now “starting to work out,” after he pulled his side out of negotiations earlier this week.

“I think we have a really good chance of doing something,” Trump said Thursday morning in a live interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business. There are now “very productive talks” on coronavirus relief, he said.

Months of hard-fought negotiations on a stimulus package to shore up a slowing economic recovery came to an abrupt end Tuesday, when Trump pulled his team out of the talks. He then called on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to send him standalone assistance bills, including for airlines and individual stimulus checks.

  Thursday, Oct. 8 9:52 a.m.  

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows ignored virus rules at wedding, report says

By Associated Press

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows hosted a large wedding for his daughter that appeared to violate a Georgia order and city of Atlanta guidelines aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, an Atlanta newspaper reported Thursday.

Photos of the event show that social distancing guidelines were not followed during the May 31 nuptials at the Biltmore Ballrooms Atlanta, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

About 70 guests, including US Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, wore tuxedos and ball gowns but no masks at the indoor wedding, and photographs show groups of people clustered closely together in the same room throughout the evening, the newspaper said. Georgia had loosened some coronavirus restrictions by the end of May, but Gov. Brian Kemp’s orders at the time

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Mark Meadows broke COVID-19 rules with 70-person wedding: report

  • White House chief of staff Mark Meadows reportedly hosted 70-plus people for his daughter’s wedding in Atlanta, breaking state COVID-19 rules.
  • Photos show guests maskless at a lavish indoor ballroom, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio was also reportedly at the event. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows reportedly hosted more than 70 guests for his daughter’s wedding in Atlanta in late May, despite COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time.

Photos obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution show people in close clusters, dressed in tuxedos and ball gowns, and without masks at a lavish indoor venue on May 31.

At the time, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp limited gatherings to 10 people to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

The party took place at the upscale Biltmore Ballrooms in the city, with “crystal chandeliers, marble floors and a frame of soaring Roman arches,” according to the AJC. Attendees enjoyed a live band with a three-course dinner.

There were 11 bridesmaids and eight groomsmen in attendance. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio was also reportedly at the event. 

Meadows did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment. The White House also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

That same weekend, protests over the killing of George Floyd unfolded outside the White House. The day after the reported wedding, President Donald Trump participated in a widely criticized photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church when National Guard and Park Police troops cleared demonstrators from Lafayette Square with tear gas.

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Garden Rescue’s Harry Rich shares adorable new photo to mark daughter’s first birthday



a man standing in front of a tree: Hello! Magazine


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Hello! Magazine

Garden Rescue‘s Harry Rich delighted his fans recently when he shared a gorgeous new photo of his daughter, Indigo, to mark her first birthday.

The TV presenter, who appears on the BBC daytime show with his brother David and former Ground Force star Charlie Dimmock, uploaded the cute snap on his Instagram showing little Indigo sat on his lap with a big smile on her face.

MORE: Garden Rescue’s Harry Rich shows off incredible hidden talent

The father-of-one simply wrote in the caption: “Indigo – Age 1”, along with a red love-heart emoji and fans were quick to comment gushing on the gorgeous photograph.

Harry Rich posted this adorable picture of his daughter recently

One person wrote: “Tooooo cute!!! And naturally she’s in floral trousers! Happy birthday little one!!” as another said: “Happy Birthday Indigo. Fabulous picture!” Meanwhile a third quipped about Harry’s day job, writing: “The next edition to Garden Rescue!”

The presenter and garden expert, who runs his own landscape company with his brother alongside their commitments on the BBC show, likes to keep his private life largely out of the spotlight, although he does occasionally share photos of his family on social media.

MORE: Garden Rescue’s Charlie Dimmock speaks openly about benefits of gardening for mental health



Charlie Dimmock et al. posing for the camera: garden-rescue


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Harry with brother and co-star David and Charlie Dimmock

Posting back in April, Harry uploaded another sweet photo where he could be seen lying down on the sofa as his baby daughter sits on top of him. The Garden Rescue star captioned the picture: “Saturday morning Indigo.”

Harry lives in a cottage back in his hometown of Brecon, Wales, with his daughter and wife, Sue, a yoga instructor. Last year, he told the Times what he loves most about his rural landscape at home.

MORE: Who is Garden Rescue star David Rich’s fiancée?

“It’s a very old stone cottage, from 1670 in the oldest part, and it’s got a stone floor with mud underneath. It is set in a woodland and you have to walk over a stream to get to it. I fell in love with the way I get to my front door.”

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How Mark Mark Meadows Became the White House’s Unreliable Source

That’s one diagnosis of Meadows—and trust me, there are plenty to go around in Washington. Friends would describe him as a respectable player—calculating and slippery but decent to a fault. Enemies would liken him to a political sociopath, someone whose charm and affability conceal an unemotional capacity for deception. What both groups would agree upon is that Meadows, the 61-year-old White House chief of staff, is so consumed with his cloak-and-dagger, three-dimensional-chess approach to Washington that he can’t always be trusted.

Which makes him precisely the wrong person to be at the center of an international crisis.

It was unsettling enough on Saturday morning to hear President Trump’s personal physician, Sean Conley, evading questions from the media during a news conference outside Walter Reed Medical Center. Tasked with giving an update on Trump’s bout with Covid-19, Conley wouldn’t say definitively whether the president had ever been given supplemental oxygen; what his temperature was; whether any lung damage had been detected. Making matters worse, the timeline he provided of Trump’s illness was wrong; he was forced to correct it after the briefing. Still, the big takeaway was that Trump was doing “very well,” that doctors were “extremely happy” with his condition, that the move to Walter Reed was nothing more than a “precautionary measure.”

Incredibly, just minutes after that briefing, the traveling press pool blasted out a statement provided by “a source familiar with the president’s health.” The anonymous quote hinted at something far bleaker than what the 10-member team of medical professionals had just offered: “The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”

It became immediately obvious that Meadows was the source; he was the only White House official at Walter Reed, the only person who could have so immediately briefed the pool on the president’s condition. (Sure enough, footage quickly surfaced showing Meadows pulling the reporters to the side, asking to speak “off the record with some of y’all” for a minute.)

What wasn’t clear—and still isn’t clear—is why Meadows said what he said. (I tried to get him to explain but he did not respond to messages seeking comment.)

Here again, there are competing theories among people who know him. One is that Meadows was concerned that Americans weren’t getting the full picture on the president’s health and wanted to offer a more realistic assessment. Another is that Meadows, a lover of political drama, wanted to seed a narrative of the president on the ropes and fighting for his life, setting up the storyline of a triumphant comeback. In reality, the likeliest explanation is that Meadows, having watched the doctors shed little light on Trump’s situation, tried to be helpful by providing some needed context to reporters, but overstepped with his melodramatic wording.

Whatever the case, Meadows erred not only by stepping on the doctors’ statement with his own, but by

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Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows says he ‘fully’ expects staffers to get COVID

  • White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Friday that he “fully” expects other top aides to the president to test positive for the coronavirus after Trump and the first lady’s diagnoses. 
  • Meadows told reporters during an informal briefing on Friday morning that “all of our core staff” have been tested recently and said he has a “mitigation plan” in case others are infected. 
  • “I fully expect that as this virus continues to go on, other people in the White House will certainly have a positive test result,” Meadows said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Friday morning that he “fully” expects other top aides to the president to test positive for the coronavirus after the president and first lady’s diagnoses. 

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania announced early Friday morning that they had both tested positive for COVID-19. The president’s close aide, Hope Hicks, tested positive for the virus on Thursday morning after developing symptoms Wednesday evening. 

Meadows told reporters during an informal briefing on Friday morning that “all of our core staff” have been tested recently.

“I fully expect that as this virus continues to go on, other people in the White House will certainly have a positive test result,” Meadows said. “We’ve got the mitigation plan in place to make sure that the government not only continues to move forward, but the work of the American people continues to go forward.” 

Meadows also confirmed that the White House knew Trump’s top aide Hope Hicks, who has regular contact with the president, was infected with COVID-19 before Trump attended a fundraising event in New Jersey on Thursday, during which he came in close contact with dozens of people. 

“I’m not going to get into the tick tock. I can tell you, in terms of Hope Hicks, we discovered that right as the Marine One was taking off yesterday,” Meadows told reporters. “We actually pulled some of the people that have been traveling and in close contact. The reason why it was reported out, just frankly, is that we had already started to contact tracing just prior to that event.” 

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, both tested negative for the virus on Friday. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Trump has consistently played down the severity of the virus, pushed states to violate public health guidelines by quickly reopening, and dismissed those who take recommended mitigation measures. 

During Tuesday’s presidential debate, Trump mocked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for regularly wearing a face mask. 

“When needed, I wear a mask,” Trump said. “I don’t wear masks like him. Every time you see him he wears a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away. He shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

Biden tested negative for the virus on Friday morning.

 

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Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows says he ‘fully’ expects other White House staffers to get coronavirus



Mark Meadows wearing a suit and tie: Doug Mills/Getty Images


© Doug Mills/Getty Images
Doug Mills/Getty Images

  • White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Friday that he “fully” expects other top aides to the president to test positive for the coronavirus after Trump and the first lady’s diagnoses. 
  • Meadows told reporters during an informal briefing on Friday morning that “all of our core staff” have been tested recently and said he has a “mitigation plan” in case others are infected. 
  • “I fully expect that as this virus continues to go on, other people in the White House will certainly have a positive test result,” Meadows said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Friday morning that he “fully” expects other top aides to the president to test positive for the coronavirus after the president and first lady’s diagnoses. 

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania announced early Friday morning that they had both tested positive for COVID-19. The president’s close aide, Hope Hicks, tested positive for the virus on Thursday morning after developing symptoms Wednesday evening. 

Meadows told reporters during an informal briefing on Friday morning that “all of our core staff” have been tested recently.

“I fully expect that as this virus continues to go on, other people in the White House will certainly have a positive test result,” Meadows said. “We’ve got the mitigation plan in place to make sure that the government not only continues to move forward, but the work of the American people continues to go forward.” 

Meadows also confirmed that the White House knew Trump’s top aide Hope Hicks, who has regular contact with the president, was infected with COVID-19 before Trump attended a fundraising event in New Jersey on Thursday, during which he came in close contact with dozens of people. 

Video: Biden slams Trump for putting pressure and disagreeing with his own scientists on Covid-19 vaccine timeline (CNBC)

Biden slams Trump for putting pressure and disagreeing with his own scientists on Covid-19 vaccine timeline

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“I’m not going to get into the tick tock. I can tell you, in terms of Hope Hicks, we discovered that right as the Marine One was taking off yesterday,” Meadows told reporters. “We actually pulled some of the people that have been traveling and in close contact. The reason why it was reported out, just frankly, is that we had already started to contact tracing just prior to that event.” 

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, both tested negative for the virus on Friday. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Trump has consistently played down the severity of the virus, pushed states to violate public health guidelines by quickly reopening, and dismissed those who take recommended mitigation measures. 

During Tuesday’s presidential debate, Trump mocked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for regularly wearing a face mask. 

“When needed, I wear a mask,” Trump said. “I don’t wear masks like him. Every time you see him he wears

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White House chief of staff Mark Meadows contradicts FBI Director Christopher Wray on voter fraud

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows disputed FBI Director Christopher Wray’s testimony to Congress on Thursday that there’s no evidence of voter fraud by mail or otherwise, and he suggested that Wray “needs to get involved on the ground.”

“With all due respect to Director Wray, he has a hard time finding emails in his own FBI, let alone figuring out whether there is any kind of voter fraud,” Meadows said in an interview with “CBS This Morning” on Friday. Wray had told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that there was no evidence of a “coordinated national voter fraud effort.”

Meadows also made reference to a Washington Post report about 500 “problematic” ballots that had been sent to some voters in North Carolina, although this was the result of a clerical error, and not voter fraud. Moreover, people can still only vote once, meaning that even if they sent in two ballots, their vote would only be counted once. Earlier this month, President Trump urged North Carolinians to vote twice, which is a felony.

“Perhaps he needs to get involved on the ground and he would change his testimony on Capitol Hill,” Meadows said of Wray.

In a separate gaggle with reporters on Friday morning, Meadows also sidestepped a question from CBS News’ Ben Tracy about whether the president still had confidence in Wray.

“It’s time for Director Wray to quit, in my mind, playing footsie with transparency and delivery those documents,” Meadows said, which may have been a reference to material sought by Congress about Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into any links between 2016 Trump campaign associates and Russian meddling in the election. On Thursday, newly released records from the Justice Department first reported by CBS News showed that the primary sub-source for the Steele dossier had been the subject of an earlier counterintelligence investigation by the FBI.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly tried to sow doubts about the legitimacy of mail-in ballots, baselessly claiming that it leads to widespread voter fraud. However, the president has encouraged mail-in voting in Florida, a key swing state that is considered to be critical to his reelection.

The president has also refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power should Joe Biden win the presidential election, saying only that “we’re going to have to see what happens.” On Thursday, he told reporters, “We want to make sure the election is honest and I’m not sure that it can be.” 

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White House liaisons being removed from jobs and replaced, according to Mark Meadows’ email

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows emailed government agencies informing them that many of the White House liaisons are being removed from their roles in anticipation of President Donald Trump winning a second term, CNN has learned.



a large clock tower on a cloudy day


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The liaisons will be replaced with officials who will report directly to the White House instead of the agencies to which they’re assigned.

Previously the liaisons worked in conjunction with the White House’s Office of Presidential Personnel and the agencies they served, while ultimately reporting to the agencies’ heads. With this change, the liaisons will instead report directly to the White House. Liaisons can be responsible for assisting the White House in placing political appointees at agencies.

While the email, first reported by Axios, was sent by Meadows, the changes will be implemented by the head of the personnel office, Johnny McEntee.

Since returning to the White House after being fired for issues related to his security clearance, McEntee has been on what’s internally referred to as a “hunt” for staffers he believes are disloyal to the President. In February, McEntee told agency officials at a meeting to expect staffing changes and movement across the government, according to people familiar with the meeting.

“Not a good idea on his part,” a White House official told CNN at the time. “Going to get himself and a lot of people in trouble.”

But the following month, the presidential personnel office distributed a new questionnaire to candidates applying to join Trump’s administration that asks what part of his campaign message “most appealed” to them and why.

While it is not unusual for presidential administrations to vet political appointees for ideological or policy alignment, the questionnaire previously used by the Trump White House did not ask for applicants’ views about Trump or his campaign. Trump’s name does not appear once on the previous questionnaire. It now appears five times.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the personnel office has installed several political aides at agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services. One of those aides, Michael Caputo, recently announced he is taking a two-month leave of absence after apologizing for a Facebook video in which he went on a rant against government scientists.

Shortly before that, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn removed a spokesperson, Emily Miller, at his agency after only a matter of days. Miller was a political appointee, so she remained at the agency without a clear job.

Both Caputo and Miller were placed in their jobs by McEntee’s office.

Trump’s focus on the question of loyalty rose sharply in the wake of his impeachment acquittal earlier this year.

He told his aides at the time that he wanted fewer people working for him in the White House and only loyalists installed in key administration positions, several people familiar with the matter told CNN.

Trump’s allies have long provided him with lists — not always solicited — of people they’ve identified as disloyal and the names

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Mark Meadows just epitomized the White House’s stupefying position on masks

But now that Trump is toeing this line again, he has left those around him to account for it. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows just showed how impossible that is to do in good faith.

During a brief Q&A with reporters Thursday morning, Meadows offered his own bewildering comments about why he doesn’t wear a mask. His argument basically boiled down to this: If it’s not 100 percent effective, I’m not interested.

That may seem like an uncharitable oversimplification, but it’s effectively what he said.

“If masks is the panacea for everything, that we could have everybody going back to work if they’ll just wear a mask … if that’s the way that we open back our economy and get everybody back to work, I will gladly wear my mask each and every day if that’s what makes the difference,” Meadows said. “And it doesn’t.”

Meadows added: “I think even a [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert] Redfield, a [coronavirus task force member Anthony S.] Fauci and anybody else would suggest that it is a mitigating effort, but it’s not something that is actually designed to actually make sure we don’t have the coronavirus spread.”

Meadows echoed the comments elsewhere, claiming that while masks are “good,” the science doesn’t back up the idea that masks are actually “the answer” to getting back to work or even “the best protocol for keeping people safe.”

There are several obvious problems with this.

The first is the false choice Meadows is offering: If masks aren’t a panacea, then they may not be worthwhile. But no expert has said masks would completely halt the virus; what they have said is that they slow the spread. And the White House has previously adopted a number of mitigation measures, even though they wouldn’t completely halt the virus. Why draw the line for advocacy and compliance on masks, which are notably a much simpler mitigation tool than closing down portions of the economy?

The second is that the standard Meadows is setting up here is completely nonsensical. There is literally no panacea for the coronavirus — nor will there be even when we have a vaccine. Redfield acknowledged as much in testimony Wednesday, noting that the vaccine won’t work for everyone. He said “the immunogenicity may be 70 percent, and if I don’t get an immune response, the vaccine’s not going to protect me.”

By Meadows’s standard, would taking the vaccine not necessarily be worth it either, if you have only a 70 percent shot at immunity?

That quote brings us to our third point. When Redfield gave it, he was actually propping up masks as a potentially more effective mitigation tool than a vaccine.

“I might even go so far as to say this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against covid than when I take a covid vaccine,” Redfield said, “because the immunogenicity may be 70 percent and if I don’t get an immune response the vaccine’s not going

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