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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Meadows says White House stimulus efforts ongoing amid Trump’s back-and-forth

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had proposed at least $2.4 trillion in stimulus, but Trump said he would not agree to a deal of more than $1.6 trillion. “I am rejecting their … request, and looking to the future of our Country,” he tweeted Tuesday afternoon after a phone call with Mnuchin and Republican congressional leaders.

But later Tuesday night, Trump reversed course and seemingly sought to restart relief talks, tweeting that he would approve a stimulus measure to send Americans $1,200 checks “IMMEDIATELY” amid the pandemic. “I am ready to sign right now. Are you listening Nancy?” he wrote.

The president confused matters further Wednesday morning, minutes after Meadows’ interview, when he took to Twitter to urge Pelosi: “Move Fast, I Am Waiting To Sign!” Although talks between Pelosi and the White House have stalled, her discussions with Mnuchin intensified last week.

Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s spokesman, said that Mnuchin asked about a standalone airlines bill with Pelosi Wednesday morning, but the speaker “reminded him that Republicans blocked that bill on Friday & asked him to review the DeFazio bill so that they could have an informed conversation.”

On Friday, House Transportation Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) tried to push through an airline payroll support bill on the House floor via unanimous consent, but Republicans objected, essentially blocking the effort.

Pelosi and congressional Democrats have previously expressed opposition to a piecemeal stimulus proposal, arguing it does not meet the mammoth needs of an economy still reeling from the effects of Covid-19 restrictions and unemployed workers. Millions have lost their jobs, and the coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Americans.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also would face difficulty convincing his GOP caucus to get on board with a big, last-minute agreement, as he remains focused on the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

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Meadows ‘optimistic’ Trump will leave Walter Reed, return to White House Monday after coronavirus treatment

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the administration is “optimistic” President Trump will be able to return to the White House on Monday after spending several days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center being treated for coronavirus, saying Trump’s health improved overnight and the president is ready to get back “to a normal working schedule.”



a man sitting at a table


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“Spoke to the president this morning,” Meadows said in a statement to Fox News. “He continued to improve overnight and is ready to get back to a normal working schedule.” He added that the president “will meet with his doctors and nurses this morning to make further assessments of his progress.”



a man sitting at a table: Fox News medical contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier shares insight on the latest treatment being provided to the president to fight COVID-19, including dexamethasone.


© FoxNews.com
Fox News medical contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier shares insight on the latest treatment being provided to the president to fight COVID-19, including dexamethasone.

PRESIDENT TRUMP RELEASES UPDATE, SAYS HE’S FEELING ‘MUCH BETTER’ AFTER HOSPITALIZATION

Meadows concluded, “We are still optimistic that he will be able to return to the White House later today, with his medical professionals making that determination later today.”

His comments came as the president has been trying to project an image of strength during his stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center while fighting COVID-19. The president, over the course of the last several days, has faced health scares amid his battle with the novel coronavirus, including two instances in which his blood oxygen level dropped suddenly. Doctors treated the president with a dose of the steroid dexamethasone in response.

Trump administration ‘optimistic’ president could leave Walter Reed, return to WH later Monday, Meadows says

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A normal blood oxygen reading is between 95 and 100. Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician who has served as the president’s personal physician, said Trump had a “high fever” and a blood oxygen level below 94% on Friday and during “another episode” on Saturday.

Nevertheless, members of the president’s medical team said they have been encouraged by his energy and test results, and have signaled that he may be ready to be discharged from Walter Reed on Monday.

The president, on Sunday, took a brief trip outside the hospital to greet supporters who had gathered outside, but was criticized for the brief motorcade visit, with some saying he jeopardized the health of members of the U.S. Secret Service for a brief photo-op.

In response, White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said in a statement that “appropriate precautions were taken in the execution of this movement to protect the President and all those supporting it, including PPE.”

He added, “The movement was cleared by the medical team as safe to do.”

The president has received doses of Remdesivir so far, an anti-viral drug that has been approved by the FDA to help treat the coronavirus.

“If you look at the therapeutics which I’m taking right now some of them and others that are coming out soon that are looking like, frankly they’re miracles,” Trump said in

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Meadows: Decision expected later Monday on Trump return to White House

White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsWhite House Correspondents’ Association: ‘Outrageous’ for Trump to leave hospital without informing pool Trump sought to keep COVID-19 diagnosis secret Thursday as he awaited second test result: WSJ Photo of Mark Meadows rubbing his head during update on Trump’s health goes viral MORE on Monday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpQuestions remain unanswered as White House casts upbeat outlook on Trump’s COVID-19 fight White House staffers get email saying to stay home if they experience coronavirus symptoms White House says ‘appropriate precautions’ were taken for Trump’s outing to see supporters MORE is ready to return to a “normal work schedule” as he deals with COVID-19 and that a decision is expected later in the day on whether the president can return to the White House from a nearby hospital.

“That determination has not been made yet. Obviously, he continued to improve overnight and his health continues to improve,” Meadows said during a call to “Fox & Friends” from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“The doctors will actually have an evaluation sometime late morning and then the president, in consultation with the doctors, will make a decision on whether to discharge him later today,” Meadows added. “We’re still optimistic that based on his unbelievable progress and how strong he’s been in terms of his fight against this COVID-19 disease that he will be released, but that decision will not be made until later today.”

The comments echo those of the White House physician a day earlier, who told reporters on Sunday that Trump could return to the White House as early as Monday.

The president’s oxygen level dropped on Friday and Saturday, however, and he was given dexamethasone, a steroid typically used to treat severe cases of COVID-19, calling into question how serious Trump’s health problems are. Experts have noted that symptoms can flare up days after a person has contracted the virus and questioned the possibility Trump could leave the hospital in Bethesda, Md., so quickly.

“Obviously, this is an important day,” Meadows said on Monday. “The president continues to improve and is ready to get back to a normal work schedule.”

Trump was taken to Walter Reed on Friday evening, roughly 18 hours after he first disclosed to the public that he and the first lady had tested positive for the coronavirus. The president was given supplemental oxygen at the White House on Friday.

The White House has given conflicting messages about Trump’s state, eroding its credibility as the president deals with the virus. White House physician Sean Conley said Saturday the president was doing very well, but Meadows quickly contradicted him by acknowledging that Trump’s vitals were concerning on Friday and that he was not yet out of the woods.

National security adviser Robert O’BrienRobert O’BrienNational security adviser says Trump will stay a Walter Reed for ‘another period of time’ Trump aide Hope Hicks tests positive for COVID-19 CIA letting less intelligence on Russia reach Trump: report

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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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Meadows: Trump had ‘very concerning’ period on Friday

  • White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Saturday President Donald Trump had experienced a “very concerning” period on Friday as he battles COVID-19 in a Maryland hospital, The Associated Press reported.
  • His comments came after a press conference that featured White House physician Sean Conley, who dodged questions, offered a conflicting timeline, and said that the president was feeling well and in good spirits.
  • Trump also Saturday tweeted that he was feeling well, thanking the staff at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where he was transported by helicopter Friday night.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, on Saturday said that President Donald Trump had experienced a “very concerning” period on Friday as he battles COVID-19 and said the next 48 hours will be “critical” for his treatment, The Associated Press reported. 

“We’re still not on a clear path yet to a full recovery,” Meadows said, according to the report.

Trump, 74, first announced at about 1 a.m. on Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19. Later Friday he was transported via helicopter to the Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland “out of an abundance of caution,” The White House said in a statement. 

Meadows’ comments were seemingly at odds with those made by White House physician Sean Conley at a press conference earlier Saturday, who said that the president was feeling well and was in good spirits. Notably, Conley said that Trump wasn’t currently in need of supplemental oxygen, but he dodged questions about whether Trump had required supplemental oxygen at any point previously during his COVID-19 treatment.

The president’s doctor similarly refused to disclose when Trump had last tested negative for the virus before testing positive and presented a timeline that suggested that Trump had fallen ill on Wednesday, two days prior to his announcing his illness on Twitter.  Following the press conference, Conley released a statement through the White House that attempted to clarify the timeline and make it consistent with Trump’s 1 a.m. announcement Friday. 

Following the press conference, several outlets, including The New York Times and The Associated Press, reported that President Trump had required supplemental oxygen in the White House on Friday before he was transported by helicopter to the Maryland hospital, where Conley on Saturday said he couldn’t provide a date for when Trump might be discharged.

Amid the conflicting reports, the president in a tweet Saturday said he was “feeling well” and thanked his Walter Reed medical team.

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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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