White House staffers say they are relying on ‘Twitter and TV’ to tell them who has become infected
October 5, 2020
Several people who spent time with President Trump last week before he tested positive for COVID-19, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), found out about his results through the news, The Wall Street Journal reports.
White House officials told the Journal a medical team is conducting contact tracing, working to notify individuals who were exposed to infected staffers. On Friday, Christie, who helped Trump prepare for last Tuesday’s debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, said that he had yet to hear from anyone at the White House. Christie tweeted on Saturday that he had tested positive for COVID-19, and later shared that as a precaution, he checked into a New Jersey hospital.
Christie was at the White House on the morning of Sept. 26 for debate prep, and was in close proximity with multiple people who later tested positive for COVID-19, including Trump’s close adviser Hope Hicks, former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, and Trump himself. Later that day, Christie and Conway gathered in the Rose Garden for Trump’s announcement of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee. Not very many people wore masks to this event, and several guests have since tested positive, including Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who was spotted hugging and kissing other guests.
Other people who participated in debate practices with Trump, including his lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and senior campaign adviser Jason Miller have said they tested negative for the virus. Giuliani said he learned about Hicks’ positive test results from the news, but White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows called to notify him of Trump’s diagnosis.
Several White House staffers told the Journal no one is doing a very good job internally of conveying information on test results or Trump’s condition, with one official saying they are “glued to Twitter and TV because I have no official communication from anyone in the West Wing.”
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