Bill Barr Faces Criticism Over Refusal to Quarantine After Rose Garden Event

Attorney General William Barr is facing mounting criticism over his refusal to quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19 at the Supreme Court nomination ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Saturday.



Chris Christie, Lavinia Wilson, C. Boyden Gray standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Attorney General William Barr greets former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in the Rose Garden at the White House on September 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.


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Attorney General William Barr greets former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in the Rose Garden at the White House on September 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Some fear the September 26 event was a possible catalyst of the White House coronavirus outbreak. At least eight attendees have tested positive since the ceremony. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were diagnosed with the virus one day after Hope Hicks, one of the president’s closest aides, became infected.

World Reacts To Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Testing Positive For Coronavirus

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GOP Senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis also tested positive, as well as former White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway—whom Barr was seen in close contact with during the event.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 14 days of quarantine for anyone who has been exposed to the virus, a rule Barr has apparently chosen not to follow.

“Barr’s refusal to quarantine after exposure is not ‘toughness,'” tweeted University of Michigan Law Professor Barbara McQuade, who’s also a former U.S. attorney. “It is arrogant, irresponsible, and reckless behavior from our nation’s attorney general.”

Andrew Weissmann, a longtime Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyer turned legal analyst, said Barr’s decision was “fitting” for an “enabler of presidential fictions and denier of facts.”

Video: Trump downplayed the coronavirus the same week he tested positive (The Washington Post)

Trump downplayed the coronavirus the same week he tested positive

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“This is reckless and dangerous for any person—especially a person who wields power to summon others,” tweeted former federal prosecutor Elie Honig. “He’s putting DOJ staffers, and everyone else around him, at risk.”

Some attendees of the White House event last Saturday moved indoors following the official nomination of Barrett at the Rose Garden. While all guests tested negative for COVID before the event, face masks were not required at the reception and many guests were pictured mingling in close proximity without one. CNN political reporter Rebecca Buck shared an image of Barr standing close to Trump and the first lady at the reception.

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White House shows no signs of backing down from Trump’s refusal to condemn White supremacy

The White House is showing no signs of backing down from President Donald Trump’s refusal to condemn White supremacy during Tuesday night’s presidential debate, despite pleas from some Republican allies to clarify his comments.



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie


© Carolyn Kaster/AP


White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday would not give a declarative statement denouncing White supremacy, instead pointing to the President’s past comments and insisting that he did not misspeak during the debate or after.

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“The President, specifically, verbatim, was asked (Wednesday): ‘White supremacy — do you denounce them?’ To which he responded, ‘I have always denounced any form of that,’ ” McEnany said. “Those are the facts.”

But McEnany excluded the fact that when Trump was asked if he condemned White supremacists on Wednesday, he appeared to equate violence by far-left groups with White supremacy.

Asked if he condemned White supremacists, Trump told reporters: “I’ve always denounced any form, any form of any of that. You have to denounce. But I also — Joe Biden has to say something about antifa.”

Trump similarly argued during the debate that the left wing was to blame for violence at ongoing demonstrations across the country.

The President also told the Proud Boys — a far-right group the Anti-Defamation League calls misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and anti-immigration — to “stand back and stand by.”

“Who would you like me to condemn?” Trump said. Biden could be heard twice saying, “Proud Boys.”

Video: White House still won’t outright denounce white supremacy (CNN)

White House still won’t outright denounce white supremacy

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“Proud Boys — stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what. I’ll tell you what. Somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem,” Trump continued.

Although Trump has condemned the Ku Klux Klan and White supremacists in the past, he memorably said “both sides” were to blame for racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, has frequently downplayed the threat from White supremacists during his term in office and has made stoking racial tensions a key part of his reelection strategy. In contrast, the Trump administration has portrayed antifa and anarchists as a top threat to the US equivalent to that of the KKK, recently making a campaign promise to prosecute both the KKK and antifa as terrorist organizations.

FBI Director Christopher Wray recently told Congress that “racially motivated violent extremism,” coming mostly from White supremacists, has made up the majority of domestic terrorist threats in the US.

Some Republicans on Capitol Hill, including Sens. Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, gave Trump the benefit of the doubt, saying the President should clarify his debate remarks or that they believed he misspoke.

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the lone Black Republican in the Senate, said Wednesday that he thought Trump had misspoken during the debate and “he should correct it.”

Asked directly if Trump misspoke, McEnany denied he had.

“When the President denounced White supremacy

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Fox News’ John Roberts angrily tells off the White House for its refusal to denounce white supremacy

The Daily Beast

Trump’s Jab on Hunter Biden’s Drug Addiction Horrifies Treatment Advocates

Even by the historically low standards of decorum and decency set by President Donald Trump’s pugilistic performance in his first presidential debate with former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday, the president’s attack on his opponent’s son for his past struggles with substance use was singular in its ugliness.“Are you talking about Hunter?” Trump said late into the debate, interrupting Biden as he reflected on his late son, Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer in 2015. “Hunter got thrown out of the military. He was thrown out, dishonorably discharged for cocaine use—he didn’t have a job until you became vice president, and once you became vice president, he made a fortune.”Trump’s callous and incorrect comments—Hunter Biden was not dishonorably discharged— about his opponent’s lone surviving son’s past drug use were clearly wielded to leave a mark, but Biden responded with defiance.“My son, like a lot of people, like a lot of people we know at home, had a drug problem,” Biden said. “He’s overtaken it. He’s fixed it, he’s worked on it, and I’m proud of him. I’m proud of my son.”The moment horrified advocates for addiction treatment and recovery who told The Daily Beast that they fear Trump’s comments, and comments like them, could make it harder for the millions of Americans affected by substance use to get help.“Addiction is a medical condition that affects millions of Americans each year, irrespective of any demographic. It is a disease, not a moral or character failing,” Marvin Ventrell, CEO of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, told The Daily Beast. “It is inappropriate, harmful, hurtful, and irresponsible when a public figure or person of influence disparages people suffering from addiction.”“Pointing out a father because his son may have struggled in the past with a substance use disorder is wholly unconstructive and serves to perpetuate misconceived perceptions of addiction,” said Dr. Paul H. Earley, president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). “Our nation must respond with compassion and evidence-based treatments if we want to treat addiction and save lives.”Trump’s comments, which characterized substance use as a character failure, also undercut the hard-fought understanding in the medical community that addiction is a disease, said Dr. Lawrence Weinstein, chief medical director of American Addiction Centers, which provides treatment for substance use disorders.Trump Planned to Go Feral on Biden. Now His Allies Want to Call Animal Control“The stigma surrounding mental health and addiction has been shown to be a significant barrier to treatment and prevents many people from seeking the help that they need,” said Weinstein, who called addiction “an indiscriminate, chronic, complex and relapsing brain disease.”“This disease is not the result of a moral failing, poor judgment, or weakness—it is a chronic condition that requires lifelong maintenance,” Weinstein said.Trump has a track record of making flippant comments about substance use and addiction, despite the death of his elder brother to complications related to alcoholism. In recent years

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Trump ‘will accept the results of a free and fair election,’ White House says, without addressing the president’s earlier refusal.

Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, told reporters on Thursday that President Trump “will accept the results of a free and fair election,” downplaying his refusal the day before to commit to a peaceful transfer of power without categorically stating whether he would accept the results.

“He will accept the will of the American people,” she added.

During a daily press briefing, Ms. McEnany was pressed on Mr. Trump’s remark, which he made Wednesday evening in response to a question about the possibility that he might lose the November election at a time of widespread unrest in American cities.

Ms. McEnany would not further characterize the president’s views, but sought to turn against Democrats the outrage and alarm triggered among both parties by the president’s comments.

“I think that your question is more fitting to be asked of Democrats who have already been on the record saying they won’t accept the results of an election,” she said, quoting party leaders who have in fact warned that Mr. Trump might try to claim victory illegitimately.

She cited an August comment from Mr. Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, that former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. “should not concede under any circumstances.” But Mrs. Clinton was referring only to election night itself, warning that a final accurate tally may not be known until days or weeks later, in part because of potentially late-arriving mail-in votes Mr. Trump is seeking to discredit.

She also repeatedly noted that the reporter who had asked Mr. Trump yesterday about a power transfer works for Playboy magazine. The White House has previously complained about that reporter, Brian Karem, and even unsuccessfully sought to revoke his press pass. It is unclear why Mr. Trump continues to call on him in briefings.

Ms. McEnany also condemned protesters who jeered Mr. Trump as he visited Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s coffin atop the Supreme Court steps on Thursday. “The chants were appalling, but certainly to be expected when you’re in the heart of the swamp,” she said.

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