When the coronavirus invades the West Wing, White House reporters face increased risk – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2020-10-05 19:26:00 –

Visitors to the White House will notice a temporary sign taped to the door of the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, the entrance to President Donald Trump and the press that regularly covers his administration. .. It says “Masks needed beyond this point”. “Always wear a mask on both the nose and mouth.”

The sign was not erected by the White House. Correspondents had to do it themselves.

Through an interview with a reporter facing the prospect of a rapidly expanding outbreak, Trump officials regularly avoided masks throughout the pandemic, which is now landing head-on in the West Wing, but at the White House. He refused to establish a thorough security protocol to protect reporters. In their daily workspace.

“The only place on the White House grounds where masks were needed was the White House reporters, and the only people who routinely violated the rules were the White House staff,” said ABC’s Chief White House. Correspondent Jonathan Karl said. interview.

A reporter who traveled with Trump last week learned that his adviser, Hope Hicks, was positive only after reading Thursday’s coverage. Many have traveled near Hicks and have spent time with family and friends ever since.

On Monday, White House spokesman Cary McKennie said she tested positive for the virus. Two of her agents, Chad Gil Martin and Carolyn Levitt, also tested positive.

Last Thursday, McKennie stood maskless on the podium in the press room and briefed with more than 12 reporters hours before Trump’s positive test was revealed. Over the weekend, she again briefed reporters on the White House grounds without a mask.

At least three White House correspondents, including New York Times reporter Michael D. Shear, have recently tested positive for the virus. Everyone recently featured an official White House event or traveled on Air Force One. Other reporters who may be exposed are tested daily as a precautionary measure or self-quarantined.

“I felt that the coverage in North Korea was safer than the coverage in the White House now,” CBS News correspondent Ben S. Tracy wrote on Twitter on Monday. “This is just crazy.”

Whitehouse officials said Monday that they would provide quick virus testing to reporters who traveled with Trump in the past week. However, the White House required reporters to arrive there at the same time for testing. This was a state of concern for some correspondents due to the possibility of a gathering of exposed individuals.

Fox News correspondent John Roberts, who easily removed his mask during a camera exchange with McKeny at a briefing on Thursday, feels healthy but is considering a virus test in the light of a spokesman’s announcement. Said.

“I’m not at all surprised,” Roberts said in the Fox News segment on Monday. “Whatever the infection and mode of infection that hit the White House, it literally went through the building like a sickle.”

The White House Correspondents’ Association, which is negotiating with the government on access and security issues, said in a statement that it would continue to encourage members to work remotely in the absence of urgent business at the White House.

“We hope that Cary, whose president and everyone else is suffering from the virus, will recover quickly,” the group said.

But White House reporters are also expected to carefully watch the dramatic moments of the country and President Trump, a task that is difficult to do from a distance. Members of the press also form a roving pool that closely tracks Trump’s movements, providing citizens with real-time information about the president.

The Associated Press’s Zeke Miller, president of the Correspondents Association, advised his uneasy members to stay vigilant.

“For seven months, we’ve been clarifying the risks inherent in fulfilling our obligation to keep informed the American people,” Miller wrote in a Friday memo. “Today, these risks are more apparent than ever, but our work is becoming more and more important.”

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