BuzzFeed pulls White House reporter over coronavirus concern, saying Trump aides largely not wearing masks

  • BuzzFeed News pulled its political reporter out of the White House press pool.
  • Trump administration aides in the facility have “largely not worn masks” or abided by other basic coronavirus protections, the news site said.
  • President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, Trump aide Hope Hicks and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany all have tested positive for Covid-19 since last Thursday. So have three White House journalists.



a group of people standing in front of a building: Members of the White House press corps work outside the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020.


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Members of the White House press corps work outside the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020.

BuzzFeed News pulled its political reporter out of the White House press pool on Wednesday, saying that Trump administration aides in the facility have “largely not worn masks” or abided by other basic coronavirus protections.

The news site’s decision to withdraw journalist Kadia Goba from the press pool came after images showed White House aides standing outside the White House not wearing masks. The pool is comprised of a rotating group of journalists who share details of presidential and facility events with their White House colleagues.

“We will not put our reporters at needless risk of getting a deadly disease — and neither should anyone else,” BuzzFeed Editor Mark Schoofs said in a Twitter post.

President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, Trump aide Hope Hicks and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany all have tested positive for Covid-19 since last Thursday, along with multiple other people connected to the White House and the president.

Three White House journalists also have been diagnosed with the coronavirus since last week.

BuzzFeed News deputy editor-in-chief Tom Namako, in his own Twitter post wrote: “The Trump administration aides working in the White House have largely not worn masks or adhered to basic precautions around the coronavirus, including in their contacts with the press.”

“The safety of our reporters is paramount,” Namako added.

BuzzFeed spokesman Matt Mittenthal said that the news site is awaiting guidance from the White House Correspondents’ Association on future pool duty rotations, and on how the health of reporters there would be protected.

Politico reporter Meridith McGraw was dispatched to the White House to replace Goba in the press pool.



a group of people standing around a table: The White House stakeout cam (POOL 5/NY rem 115) caught a group of ten or so (possibly more) mask staffers at the EEOB gathered in close quarters eating outdoors. Many of these staffers were not wearing masks.


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The White House stakeout cam (POOL 5/NY rem 115) caught a group of ten or so (possibly more) mask staffers at the EEOB gathered in close quarters eating outdoors. Many of these staffers were not wearing masks.

Goba told The New York Times, “Anyone that knows me understands I’d rather be at the White House working today … but at the same time, there are obvious concerns about working indoors during an outbreak.”

“I don’t want to be knocked out for the rest of the election because I’m sick,” Goba said.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.

McGraw on Wednesday afternoon tweeted a photo showing White House deputy press secretary Brian Morgenstern and Trump’s trade advisor Peter Navarro talking

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BuzzFeed News Pulls Reporter From White House, Citing Virus Risk

BuzzFeed News has pulled a political correspondent from the White House press pool, citing concerns that the area has become a coronavirus hot zone after President Trump, many of his top aides — including the press secretary Kayleigh McEnany — and several journalists have tested positive for the virus.

A BuzzFeed News spokesman, Matt Mittenthal, confirmed that the company on Tuesday had withdrawn the correspondent, Kadia Goba, from her Wednesday shift out of concern for her safety. The spokesman added that BuzzFeed News was awaiting further guidance from the White House Correspondents’ Association.

Reporters rotate into the White House press pool, a group of journalists that represents the wider corps to share coverage of the president and the day’s events. The pool includes representatives of wire news services, newspapers and news sites, as well as television and radio outlets.

“Anyone that knows me understands I’d rather be at the White House working today,” Ms. Goba said, “but at the same time, there are obvious concerns about working indoors during an outbreak.”

She added, “I don’t want to be knocked out for the rest of the election because I’m sick.”

After BuzzFeed News notified other news organizations on Tuesday that its reporter would not work her shift, an email circulated among members of the press pool asking for someone to fill in.

“We are in uncharted territory,” Todd J. Gillman, the Washington bureau chief of The Dallas Morning News, who coordinates the print pool, wrote in the email, which was reviewed by The New York Times.

“No one wants anyone to take unwarranted risk,” he added. “Nor do we want the pool system to collapse.”

Politico sent a reporter, Meridith McGraw, to cover the White House in place of the BuzzFeed correspondent.

In addition to the president and Ms. McEnany, the coronavirus outbreak has ensnared nearly a dozen members of the Trump administration. Two other members of the White House press team, including a relative of Ms. McEnany’s, are known to have tested positive. At least three journalists who have covered the White House reported that they were infected, including Michael D. Shear, a reporter at The Times.

In a statement on Wednesday, the White House Correspondents’ Association said that dozens of tests had been conducted on members of its press corps since Friday, and that there had been no additional cases of the coronavirus.

The association continued to encourage the wearing of masks and the use of regular testing on Wednesday, and said it had pushed the White House to give the press corps more information about known infections so that journalists could evaluate the risk.

“Still, despite everything we’ve experienced in recent days, it would be foolish of us to assume that the situation at the White House or on the campaign trail will improve dramatically over the coming four weeks,” the statement said.

“That means that we as a press corps, and each of us individually, must be cleareyed about the potential risks of Covid exposure on the

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