Saturday, October 3, 2020

What I Saw Today at the White House

Hours before President Trump left for Walter Reed, maskless staffers roamed the grounds. And no one asked me if I was sick. Win McNamee / Getty

Peter Nicholas
The Atlantic

On the White House grounds this morning, senior West Wing aides walked around without masks. They spoke with the press without masks. They huddled privately with one another and didn’t wear masks.

When I visited the White House in August, no one checked to see if I was running a fever or suppressing a hacking cough as I passed through the security booth. The ritual was the same today: I showed up hours after we’d learned that President Donald Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus, yet no one asked about my health. Instead, I was simply searched for weapons and allowed in.

I’ve written twice in recent months about the dangerous conditions around the president—about lax testing of journalists flying with him on Air Force One, about troubling working arrangements inside the executive mansion itself. Trump’s illness seems an outgrowth of the administration’s flagrant disregard for public-health precautions. And yet, there’s no sign of a real course correction: The practices today seemed every bit as lax. When Trump walked deliberately toward Marine One tonight, in a dark suit and matching mask, he waved to reporters who all day had been trying to find out information about his condition.  Read more >>