White House not releasing number of staff infected by coronavirus, McEnany says

Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Sunday that the White House would not be releasing the names or the exact number of staffers who have become infected with the novel coronavirus – backtracking on a previous comment by another spokeswoman.

McEnany said due to privacy concerns the White House would not release the number of employees who have COVID-19 despite previous assurances by Alyssa Farah – the White House Director of Strategic Communications – that the numbers possibly would come out.

“There are privacy concerns,” McEnany said. “We take seriously safeguarding the information of personnel here in the White House.”

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McEnany would also not comment on whether President Trump – who announced in the early morning hours Friday that he and First Lady Melania Trump had contracted the virus – had received a coronavirus test before last week’s presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio or before a fundraiser at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey last Thursday.

“I’m not going to give you a detailed readout with time stamps every time he is tested,” she said. “He is tested regularly and the first positive test he received was after his return from Bedminster.”

On Thursday morning, Trump’s senior counselor Hope Hicks tested positive for the virus.

The results came not long before the president was set to lift off in Marine One for the fundraiser at his golf club.

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Hicks’ diagnosis affirmed that Trump had been in close proximity to someone infected with the virus. That’s when you should quarantine, according to public-health guidelines. But Trump went ahead with the trip. Not only that, but others who had also been around Hicks were not immediately told about her positive test.

The White House worked furiously to swap out staff who had been in close contact with Hicks and replace them with others. Spokesman Judd Deere was swapped in at the last minute, without being told why. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany did not make the trip. White House officials said they began learning of Hicks’ positive test after Trump boarded Marine One to start his journey to New Jersey.

Fox News’ Erin McEwan and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Number of Covid cases grows among people who attended White House ceremony

The number of people from President Donald Trump’s inner circle who have tested positive for the coronavirus is growing, with at least seven confirmed cases tied to an event in the Rose Garden last weekend.

On Saturday, Trump officially announced Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the next U.S. Supreme Court justice at an outdoor ceremony attended by more than 150 people, many who did not wear masks or social distancing.

In addition to the president and first lady, at least five other who were at the ceremony have been confirmed to have Covid-19: former top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, Republican Sens. Thom Tillis from North Carolina and Mike Lee from Utah, Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins and a White House journalist.

Conway is the latest to confirm she was infected.

“Tonight I tested positive for COVID-19,” she said in a statement Friday night. “My symptoms are mild (light cough) and I’m feeling fine. I have begun a quarantine process in consultation with physicians. As always, my heart is with everyone affected by this global pandemic.”

Trump, who is being treated at Walter Reed Hospital, where he is receiving experimental treatment and expected to remain for several days, revealed in a tweet his and Melania Trump’s diagnoses early Friday, sending everything from the upcoming presidential election to the Supreme Court confirmation into question.

Democrats were quick to call for a delay in Barrett’s confirmation hearing, but Republicans pushed back and said they intend to move forward with the process. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a tweet Friday that the hearings remain scheduled to begin Oct. 12 and raised the possibility of virtual hearings.

“We now have two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who have tested positive for COVID, and there may be more. I wish my colleagues well,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a tweet. “It is irresponsible and dangerous to move forward with a hearing, and there is absolutely no good reason to do so.”

Both Tillis and Lee are members of the Judiciary Committee.

“Over the last few months, I’ve been routinely tested for COVID-19, including testing negative last Saturday, but tonight my rapid antigen test came back positive,” Tillis said. “I will be following the recommendations of my doctor and will be self-isolating at home for 10 days and notifying those I’ve been in close contact with.”

Other members of Trump’s inner circle, including his children, said they have tested negative for the virus.

Conway’s daughter, Claudia Conway, posted a video on TikTok announcing her mother’s diagnosis even before the elder Conway issued a statement. Claudia Conway said she is “furious” that her mother, who brushed off wearing a mask during the pandemic, exposed the family to Covid-19.

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A Record Number of Women Are Running for House in 2020 | America 2020

A record number of female nominees are running for the House in the 2020 general elections, exceeding the historic number set in the 2018 midterms that brought in a wave of women – mostly Democrats – to Congress and switched party control.

With the conclusion of the regular 2020 primary season following Tuesday’s primaries in Delaware, 298 women advanced to general elections with a large majority of them running as Democrats, according to an analysis by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Of the total number of female House nominees, 204 are Democrats, while 94 are Republicans, with both parties shattering their previous records. The number, however, could slightly grow with a few remaining primaries happening on Election Day.

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It’s a sizable uptick from 2018 when there were record-high numbers of women seeking House seats with 234 nominees. The number of female nominees in 2020 is likely to again bolster the ranks of women serving in Congress which has historically been overwhelmingly run by men despite women representing more than half the U.S. population. There are a number of female nominees, however, who will face steep hurdles in November since they’re running in districts that are considered swing seats or ones that dramatically tilt towards one party.

Women played a pivotal role in delivering Democrats control of the House in 2018 for the first time in eight years. Two years ago, Democrats had a record-high of 182 female nominees running for Congress.

And in 2020, a historic number of at least 130 Black women ran for the House and Senate, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. The record number of Black candidates, who are largely Democrats, are running at a time when the country faces a reckoning over race and ongoing protests around the country against police brutality and systemic racism.

Republican women, meanwhile, have seen their numbers dwindle in recent years. There are only 13 women currently in the House GOP conference since a handful of incumbents lost to Democratic candidates two years ago.

But House Republicans made a significant push to recruit a record number of female candidates, though they still face challenges – particularly financial – when trying to navigate and win contested primaries. This year, the GOP surpassed its previous record of female House nominees which was 53 in 2004, according to the Center for American Women and Politics.

Women fell just short of the 2018 record set in the Senate, which had 23 nominees. This year, there are 20 female nominees for the Senate: 12 Democrats and eight Republicans. The current composition of women in the upper chamber includes nine Republicans and 17 Democrats.

The number could again change after Georgia’s special election for the Senate on Nov. 3. Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed to former Sen. Johnny Isakson’s seat last year, is running for a full term and competing in a jungle primary which will feature all Senate candidates regardless

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Push to boost tiny number of women in trades

Nationally, just 16 motorbike mechanics, 55 diesel mechanics and 20 small-engine mechanics are women, according to the One of the Boys report by the University of Sydney.

Ms McDonald’s group is working to break down stigma and get information into schools so girls consider trades rather than being funnelled straight to tertiary education whether it suits them or not.

There is still less than two per cent participation for women in trades even though we cannot meet demand, it’s ridiculous.

Susan Alberti, businesswoman, philanthropist and former construction boss

“We need young men and women to be educated that women can do these jobs – they’re open to anyone, unfortunately it’s not being projected that way,” she says.

Former construction boss Susan Alberti is helping get the word out. Ms Alberti was the only woman in her course when she studied to get her building certificate after her first husband, Angelo, died in an accident in 1995 and she took control of their construction firm.

Susan Alberti, Australia's first female registered builder (wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with 'Never give up'), is throwing her clout behind a push to get more girls to consider trades.Susan Alberti - Never give up.

Susan Alberti, Australia’s first female registered builder (wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with ‘Never give up’), is throwing her clout behind a push to get more girls to consider trades.Susan Alberti – Never give up.

Ms Alberti says women’s participation in trades is less than 2 per cent, a figure must be challenged urgently, particularly as many young women need to re-start careers after losing work in female-dominated industries hardest hit by the pandemic.

This is especially important, she says, given the government’s emphasis on a construction-led economic recovery.

“I’ve had 45 years in the building industry and when I started there were no women, not a single one … there is still less than 2 per cent participation for women in trades even though we cannot meet demand, it’s ridiculous,” says Ms Alberti, one of Australia’s first registered female builders and a patron of Tradeswomen Australia.

“We’ve got so much building work to be done in this country and we don’t have the tradespeople, and here we have this great untapped resource – women,” she said.

She agrees with Fiona McDonald that it is especially important to get the trades message out to young women now, as they are losing jobs faster than men in the pandemic.

Barriers that must be overcome include poor workplace culture, lack of role-modelling of women, lack of careers information given to girls and “social misconceptions” about trades being mainly for men.

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“There are women out there doing great work, having great careers and earning good income; we’ve got to break down the barriers,” she said.

Leanne Raynor, of the apprenticeship services network Mas National, says the group is working hard to boost visibility of trades among girls but that the main issue is “they can’t be what they can’t see – they’re not seeing the opportunities available to women in electrical, carpentry, plumbing, that sort of thing.

“The more we keep talking about it the better.”

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