White House chief of staff refuses to ‘talk through a mask’ to reporters

White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsAdministration officials call on Congress to immediately pass bill to spend unused PPP funds Trump claims he is ‘immune’ from coronavirus, defends federal response Senate Republicans rip new White House coronavirus proposal MORE refused to “talk through a mask” to reporters on Monday after initially removing the mask, telling them he was “more than 10 feet away.”

“I’m more than 10 feet away … that way I can take this off,” Meadows told reporters at the Capitol during Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

After a reporter asked him to put it back on, Meadows replaced the mask and walked away, saying, “I’m not going to talk through a mask.”

The chief of staff wore a mask in the hearing room with White House counsel Pat Cipollone, according to NBC News.

Meadows is among the White House employees who continued to work out of the White House and directly interact with President TrumpDonald John TrumpDes Moines mayor says he’s worried about coronavirus spread at Trump rally Judiciary Committee Democrats pen second letter to DOJ over Barrett disclosures: ‘raises more questions that it answers’ Trump asks campaign to schedule daily events for him until election: report MORE since the president was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this month. Meadows said he tested negative for the virus as of Monday.

White House doctor Sean Conley said Saturday that the president meets Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “criteria for the safe discontinuation of isolation” and “is no longer considered a transmission risk to others,” but the White House has yet to clarify when the president last tested negative for the virus.

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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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CNN reporter’s confrontation with raccoon at White House goes viral

CNN’s Joe Johns went viral on Tuesday night after a confrontation with a raccoon on the White House lawn.

The network’s senior Washington correspondent can be seen in the video throwing what appeared to be a work bag at the animal while attempting to shoo it away.

“Frickin’ raccoons, man. God, again! This is the second time! Jesus … It always comes around right around when I’m about to go on TV … get!” a frustrated Johns said before growling at the raccoon.

Johns was praised on social media for how he handled the situation, with others saying the interaction encapsulated a tumultuous 2020.

Tuesday evening wasn’t the first time reporters have encountered raccoons on White House property. CBS News White House correspondent Paula Reid on Sept. 29 reported a raccoon had “attacked multiple news crews” on Sept. 29.

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Trump’s return means more anxiety for White House reporters

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump’s return to the White House to recover from the coronavirus seems certain to raise the already heightened anxiety level of the journalists assigned to follow him.



A member of the cleaning staff sprays The James Brady Briefing Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


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A member of the cleaning staff sprays The James Brady Briefing Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Three reporters have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days while covering a White House described as lax, at best, in following basic safety advice like wearing masks. Discomfort only increased Monday with news that press secretary Kayleigh McEnany had tested positive.

Journalists are left to wonder if a still-contagious president will gather them for a public appearance and how their safety will be ensured.

After McEnany’s announcement Monday, Fox News chief White House correspondent John Roberts spent part of his afternoon waiting outside an urgent care center for his own test. He had attended McEnany’s briefing last Thursday. She didn’t wear a mask, and neither did one of her assistants who later tested positive, and Roberts sat near both of them. He tested negative.



Marine One lifts off from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., as supporters cheer, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. Stepping gingerly, President Donald Trump walked out the military hospital Monday night where he has been receiving an unprecedented level of care for COVID-19, immediately igniting a new controversy by declaring that despite his illness the nation should fear the virus that has killed more than 210,000 Americans. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)


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Marine One lifts off from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., as supporters cheer, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. Stepping gingerly, President Donald Trump walked out the military hospital Monday night where he has been receiving an unprecedented level of care for COVID-19, immediately igniting a new controversy by declaring that despite his illness the nation should fear the virus that has killed more than 210,000 Americans. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

He called it an inconvenience, but stronger emotions were spreading. American Urban Radio Networks correspondent April Ryan said she found it infuriating that Trump and his team had risked the health of her colleagues. CNN’s Kaitlan Collins said it was “irresponsible, at best.”

“It’s frustrating,” said Jonathan Karl, ABC News White House correspondent. “Frankly, it makes you angry.”

Trump takes the health and safety of those who work for and cover him very seriously, spokesman Judd Deere said. The White House works to incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices to limit COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible on the grounds and when the president is traveling, he said.



President Donald Trump removes his mask as he stands on the Blue Room Balcony upon returning to the White House Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Washington, after leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md. Trump announced he tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 2. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


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President Donald Trump removes his mask as he stands on the Blue Room Balcony upon returning to the White House Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Washington, after leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Md. Trump announced he tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 2. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Yet Trump clearly dislikes masks, and it is a message that has filtered down through much of his staff.

The White House Correspondents Association has placed signs on the door to the press briefing room saying that masks are required for admittance.

Video: Trump says he’s leaving hospital, tweets “don’t be afraid of COVID!” (CBS News)

Trump says he’s leaving hospital, tweets “don’t be afraid of COVID!”

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White House Reporters Self-Isolating After Three Test Positive for COVID

A day after Republican President Donald Trump announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19, three journalists who work at the White House have also tested positive. In response, news outlets have begun testing and isolating journalists who may have been exposed.



a group of people in a room: Three journalists who work at the White House have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the White House Correspondents Association. In this photo, members of the press wait in line in the White House Press Briefing Room for a COVID-19 test on April 9, 2020.


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Three journalists who work at the White House have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the White House Correspondents Association. In this photo, members of the press wait in line in the White House Press Briefing Room for a COVID-19 test on April 9, 2020.

One of the journalists was at the White House as recently as last Saturday and had traveled on Air Force One to Pennsylvania since then.

According to a report by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, memos issued Friday by the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) revealed that three unnamed journalists had contracted coronavirus.

One of the individuals began experiencing symptoms last Wednesday, and another began experiencing symptoms on Thursday. In response, the WHCA alerted its members to also get tested, especially since members of the White House press corps often work indoors and in close proximity to one another.

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

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“Given these positive cases, the president’s diagnosis and positive cases among other members of the White House staff, a number of White House journalists are self-isolating pending diagnostic testing,” the WHCA told its members in a Friday night email, according to the Post-Gazette.

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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Spokespeople from The Washington Post, CBS and NBC told the Post-Gazette that they will conduct contact tracing, testing and quarantining for their White House correspondents to reduce the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak among their journalist teams.

Most of the White House press briefings occur in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the White House. The room seats 49 reporters, and other attending journalists and officials sometimes stand along the walls or in the back of the room.

Reports of the three infected journalists came less than 24 hours after the president announced his infection.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has said that the White House medical staff has begun contact tracing to notify and quarantine any journalists, staff and other individuals who came into contact with Trump, the first lady or Trump’s senior advisor Hope Hicks. Hicks was revealed as positive for COVID-19 on Thursday evening.

On Friday evening, Trump was transported to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland to receive more testing and treatment.

Trump has long had an embittered relationship with the press, referring to them as “the enemy of the people” and peddlers of “fake news.” In late July, a Newsweek analysis of Facebook’s Ad Library found that Trump had run nearly 16,000 Facebook advertisements discrediting the mainstream media

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White House press secretary mocks CNN reporter’s basic question about Trump’s healthcare plan and tells her to ‘come work here at the White House’ if she wants information



Sarah Bush holding a sign: Kayleigh McEnany takes a question from CNN's Kaitlan Collins on Wednesday. Screenshot/Fox News


© Screenshot/Fox News
Kayleigh McEnany takes a question from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on Wednesday. Screenshot/Fox News

  • The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, on Wednesday dismissed a CNN reporter’s questions about which administration officials were working on a long-delayed healthcare plan.
  • “I’m not going to give you a readout of what our healthcare plan looks like and who’s working on it,” McEnany told the reporter. “If you want to know, come work here at the White House.”
  • President Donald Trump claimed on Tuesday night that his healthcare plan was “all ready” to be revealed, but it’s unclear when that will happen. The US election is 48 days away.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, on Wednesday refused to say which administration officials were working on a healthcare plan that President Donald Trump has long promised to unveil and recently said was “all ready.”

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During the White House press briefing, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins pointed out that three top healthcare officials in the Trump administration had said during testimony before a Senate committee that they were unaware of Trump’s Obamacare replacement plan.

“Today on Capitol Hill, the three top medical experts in this administration said they have no idea of any kind of plan that’s being formulated,” Collins said. “So who is it that is working on the healthcare plan that’s going to be introduced before the election?”

McEnany responded that “a wide array” of White House officials and “multiple stakeholders,” including the Domestic Policy Council, were working on the plan.

Dismissing Collins’ follow-up questions, the press secretary told the reporter she should come work at the White House if she wanted to find out who specifically was involved in the effort to replace the Affordable Care Act.

“I’m not going to give you a readout of what our healthcare plan looks like and who’s working on it,” McEnany said. “If you want to know, come work here at the White House.”

Describing the nonpublic plan as “the president’s vision for the next five years,” McEnany ticked off a vague list of its tenets.

“In aggregate, it’s going to be a very comprehensive strategy, one where we’re saving healthcare while Democrats are trying to take healthcare away, where we’re making healthcare better and cheaper, guaranteeing protections for people with preexisting conditions, stopping surprise medical billing, increasing transparency, defending the right to keep your doctor and your plan, fighting lobbyists and special interests, and making healthier — and finding cures to diseases,” she said.

The president has falsely claimed dozens of times that he has protected Americans with preexisting conditions. In reality, his administration is battling in court to overturn Obamacare, which protects those Americans; overturning the law would strip millions of people of healthcare.

The Republican Party failed to repeal and replace Obamacare — despite promising for years to do so — when it controlled both the Senate and the House in 2017 and 2018.

During a town hall on Tuesday night,

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Trump’s south lawn rally fails to evoke usual adulation from stony-faced reporters



Donald Trump standing in front of a flag: Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty


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Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty

After turning the south lawn into a convention stage last month, Donald Trump held a surprise press conference-cum-campaign event on Monday at the White House’s front door – where Jackie Kennedy wore black on the day of JFK’s funeral, and where the Obamas greeted their successors on inauguration day.

On a glorious late summer’s day, Trump’s vantage point behind a presidential lectern at the north portico afforded him a view of former president Andrew Jackson’s statue in Lafayette Square and, beyond that, the newly minted Black Lives Matter Plaza. Give him a second term in November, and perhaps he’ll install a golden escalator like the one he descended in at Trump Tower to launch his first campaign.

Despite the lofty surroundings, the president dropped all pretense of rising above the political hurly-burly. Over 46 minutes, he branded his Democratic presidential election rival, Joe Biden, “stupid”, falsely accused Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris of peddling anti-vaccination conspiracy theories, and unleashed a torrent of half-truths and non-truths.

But unlike the loyalists on the south lawn for the convention speech, or the devotees who gather at Trump’s increasingly frequent airport-hangar rallies, there was a stony silence from mask-wearing reporters sitting under columns, ornate carvings and a giant lamp on the White House driveway.

The perennial salesman, Trump wanted to use Labor Day to boast about economic recovery. The numbers are “terrific”, he said. “We are in the midst of the fastest economic recovery in US history,” he claimed. Some 10.6m jobs had been added since May, he said, though he did not acknowledge nearly half the jobs lost in the pandemic had still not returned.

Of the recovery, he said: “We have V-shape. It’s probably a super-V.” No mention of the more than 100,000 small businesses that shut down or the unemployment benefits that had expired for millions of Americans. As for his claim about the pandemic – “We are an absolute leader, in every way” – well, no one can dispute that America has the highest caseload (more than 6.2m) or the highest death toll (more than 189,000) in the world.



Donald Trump standing in front of a flag: Donald Trump: ‘The numbers are looking unbelievably strong, unbelievably good.’


© Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty
Donald Trump: ‘The numbers are looking unbelievably strong, unbelievably good.’

Biden and Harris “should immediately apologise for the reckless anti-vaccine rhetoric that they are talking right now, talking about ‘endangering lives’”, Trump charged, after Harris said she would rely on the decisions of public health officials and medical experts for news on a Covid-19 vaccine rather than the president.

“It undermines science, and what happens is all of a sudden you’ll have this incredible vaccine and because of that fake rhetoric, it’s a political rhetoric, that’s all that is, just for politics,” Trump said.

He added later: “The numbers are looking unbelievably strong, unbelievably good. So now they’re saying, ‘Wow, Trump’s pulled this off, OK, let’s disparage the vaccine.’ That’s so bad for this country. That’s so bad for the world to even say that, and that’s

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