White House staff scared after Trump’s return with coronavirus: Axios
October 6, 2020
White House staff are anxious at the risk of catching COVID-19, especially now a still-infectious President Donald Trump has returned, multiple reports state.
One source told Axios: “It’s insane that he would return to the White House and jeopardize his staff’s health when we are still learning of new cases among senior staff.”
And a White House staff member told The Atlantic that he is now “just waiting and worried for my friends and their families.”
Staffing has been reduced and Trump will not be in the West Wing, CNN reported. But staff members are testing positive, and proper contact tracing hasn’t started.
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White House staff are scared now that President Donald Trump has returned from hospital while still infected with the coronavirus, according to multiple reports.
One White House source told Axios: “It’s insane that he would return to the White House and jeopardize his staff’s health when we are still learning of new cases among senior staff. This place is a cesspool.”
The outlet reported that the source was “reflecting widespread dismay” among officials in Trump’s administration.
The source added: “He was so concerned with preventing embarrassing stories that he exposed thousands of his own staff and supporters to a deadly virus. He has kept us in the dark, and now our spouses and kids have to pay the price. It’s just selfish.”
CNN also reported that multiple aides are worried that they were unnecessarily put at risk over the last week.
Trump returned to the White House on Monday after spending three nights at the Walter Reed Medical Center.
While there he was given supplemental oxygen, an experimental antibody cocktail, and a steroid that is typically only used for severe cases of the virus.
When he returned, Trump alarmed medical officials by saying that Americans should not be afraid of the virus.
Trump positioned himself as someone who beat the virus and baselessly claimed that he could be “immune.”
But White House physician Sean Conley said Trump “may not be entirely out of the woods yet” with the virus. And top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that Trump’s health could go “in the wrong direction” in the next few days.
Many people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 find their health worsens around five to eight days into the course of the illness. Trump appeared to struggle to breathe in video footage after his return to the White House.
Those working around Trump include housekeepers, butlers, cooks and security staff.
The number of residence staff working there has been reduced further since Trump’s diagnosis, and Trump’s own workspace has been changed to try and keep him away from staffers, CNN reported.
Trump is not due to return to the West Wing, for example.
But for those still working throughout the White House, being infected themselves is now a fear — either because Trump himself is still infectious, or because the virus had already made it into the White House.
Most work there for decades, meaning most staff are elderly — and hence more vulnerable to the virus — The Washington Post noted.
One White House staff member called the fallout from Trump’s infection “a huge mess” to The Atlantic.
He said that he found out that Trump and First Lady Melania Trump had been diagnosed from media reports, rather than an internal announcement.
And he said that, as other administration officials test positive, he is “just waiting and worried for my friends and their families.”
A host of White House officials have tested positive since Trump’s diagnosis was made public, including Trump confidantes, the press secretary, and Secret Service staff.
And The Washington Post reported that The White House has not yet to deployed a “test and trace” team of CDC experts after Trump’s diagnosis, which would try to stop the virus from spreading further.
Bill Yosses, a former White House pastry chef, told The Atlantic: “I find it disturbing [that] people are being put at risk who really don’t have a choice.”
He added: “They have families, they have mortgages, they have kids in school. I would hope that every effort is being made to protect their health, their families’ health.”
Sam Kass, who was head chef for the Obamas for six years, told The Washington Post: “I know that people in there are scared.”
“I’m sure that they are concerned about their own lives and their families and feel very torn about balancing their responsibilities to their country, as they see it, and putting themselves in harm’s way.”
Melania Trump’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, told the Post that “every precaution is being taken to keep residence staff safe and healthy.”
Former First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted her support for White House staff on Tuesday, writing: “My heart goes out to everyone touched by this virus, from those at the White House, especially the Secret Service and residence staff whose service ought never be taken for granted, to all those names and stories most of us will unfortunately never know.”