‘Rose Garden Massacre’: Was Barrett Event a Super Spreader?

rose garden massacre


The term “Rose Garden Massacre” is trending online.

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett tested negative for the COVID-19 virus, but the term “Rose Garden Massacre” is trending online because a number of people who attended her nomination press conference now have COVID-19, including President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and the president of Notre Dame University, John Jenkins.

TMZ, using the headline “Rose Garden Massacre,” reported that the event “was ground zero for what is increasingly looking like a super-spreader COVID event.”

According to TMZ, the list of people with COVID-19 who attended the event also includes Senator Mike Lee, Senator Thom Tillis, Kellyanne Conway, and Hope Hicks. TMZ reported that “almost no one was wearing masks or social distancing.” The Guardian reported that at least seven people who attended the event now have coronavirus. The two senators, who are both on the Senate Judiciary Committee that will hear the nomination, did not wear masks at the event, according to Guardian. Lee has “symptoms consistent with longtime allergies,” and Tillis doesn’t have symptoms.

Another person at the event with COVID-19 is former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. An unnamed journalist at the Rose Garden event also has coronavirus, according to ABC News.

To be sure, it’s not clear when all of those people got COVID-19, where, and from who. However, concern grew that coronavirus might have spread at the press conference, which was held September 25. The timeline of when President Trump came down with the virus is in dispute; his doctor initially said in a press conference on October 3 that the president was 72 hours into his diagnosis, but the White House later clarified that the president tested positive on Thursday October 1. “This morning while summarizing the President’s health, I incorrectly used the term ‘seventy two hours’ instead of ‘day three’ and ‘forty eight hours’ instead of ‘day two’ with regards to his diagnosis and the administration of the polyclonal antibody therapy,” the president’s doctor, Sean Conley, later said. “The President was first diagnosed with COVID-19 on the evening of Thursday, October 1st and had received Regeron’s antibody cocktail on Friday, October 2nd.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says of COVID-19: “The estimated incubation period is between 2 and 14 days with a median of 5 days.”

Here’s what you need to know:

Video Shows People at the Event Hugging & Not Wearing Masks

The Washington Post reported that Barrett is tested daily for the virus and most recently tested negative Friday morning, October 2. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump announced that they both have tested positive for coronavirus.

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What Is The ‘Rose Garden Massacre?’ Amy Coney Barrett Announcement May Have Been Super Spreader Event

As President Donald Trump and several other key members of the Republican Party and his staff continue to test positive for COVID-19, all eyes are turning to an event last weekend which all of the parties now ill were present at—the President’s Rose Garden ceremony to announce Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

According to the Washington Post, at least seven people who were in attendance at the Sept. 25 event—including the President, Republican senators Thom Tillis and Mike Lee, former counselor Kellyanne Conway and Notre Dame President John Jenkins—have all since tested positive for the coronavirus. Mask use was not common at the event, with several people forgoing facial coverings, as social distancing was also largely ignored. Since then, speculation has grown that someone in attendance was positive for the virus, and then spread it to the others who have all since become infected.

Thus far, symptoms have reportedly been mild for most of those infected, though the President has been hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center put of precaution.

Barrett has tested negative after attending the event, though she was previously diagnosed with the virus during the late summer and recovered, CNN reports.

Since news of many who attended the event getting sick broke, critics have taken to Twitter to deem it the “Rose Garden Massacre,” which trended on Saturday as more names of attendees were released as people who tested positive.

Others used the news to criticize the President and his family for their generally refusing to wear masks—pointing out the President’s family for all taking off their masks after being seated at Tuesday’s debate in Ohio with Joe Biden.

Some also took the news to poke fun at the last time the Rose Garden made news—which was over the summer after Melania Trump caught criticism for changing the look of the space and ripping out plants put in by Jackie Kennedy ahead of the Republican National Convention.

In a press conference Saturday, Dr. Sean Conley stated the President is “doing very well,” though he remains hospitalized. 

White House Rose Garden The White House Rose Garden is pictured on August 22, 2020 after renovations. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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