President Donald Trump, Melania Trump and Chris Christie are among a running list of people who tested positive for COVID-19.
President Donald Trump and members of his administration have often flouted guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, according to a review of news events by USA TODAY.
Since Sept. 1, the president and key Oval Office figures have violated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on the coronavirus at least 27 times, ignoring recommendations on mask-wearing, social distancing, quarantining and more.
To prevent the spread of the disease that has killed more than 210,000 people in the U.S., the CDC recommends that:
- People should quarantine for 14 days if they were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more.
- People should wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in the same household, especially in large groups and in other settings when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- Large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for people to remain spaced at least 6 feet apart and attendees travel from outside the local area are “highest risk.”
- The CDC recommends that people who have had COVID-19 can be around other people again if they meet three criteria: It has been 10 days since symptoms first appeared and at least 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, and other symptoms are improving.
Here’s when and where Trump and administration officials have broken those guidelines.
Trump hosted rallies with large, unmasked crowds 15 times
President Donald Trump throws hats to supporters after speaking at a campaign rally Sept. 30 at Duluth International Airport in Minnesota. The president and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus. (Photo: Alex Brandon, AP)
Trump has held at least 15 rallies since Sept. 1. USA TODAY reviewed its coverage of the rallies and found that each violated guidance on face masks, social distancing or limits on the sizes of gatherings in the locality. Many violated all three categories. Most of the rallies were outside on tarmacs or in hangars, but at least one was indoors.
For example, at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, about 4,000 people gathered despite Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s ban on gatherings of more than 250 people. At Duluth International Airport, an estimated 3,000 people – largely maskless – were in attendance. At Harrisburg International Airport, the campaign said 2,000 chairs were placed, and it appeared as though thousands more were there to support the president, including multiple elected officials.
“It is gravely concerning that the president would insist on holding this event with blatant disregard for social distancing and masking requirements,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said in the statement. “His decision to bring thousands of people together in a tight space in the midst of a global pandemic caused by an airborne virus is flat-out wrong.”
Here is a list of rallies held in September:
- Sept. 3 rally in Pennsylvania
- Sept. 8 rally in North Carolina
- Sept. 10 rally in Michigan
- Sept. 12 rally in Nevada
- Sept. 13 rally in Nevada
- Sept. 17 rally in Wisconsin
- Sept. 18 rally in Minnesota
- Sept. 19 rally in North Carolina
- Two Sept. 21 rallies in Ohio
- Sept. 22 rally in Pennsylvania
- Sept. 24 rally in Florida
- Sept. 25 rally in Virginia
- Sept. 26 rally in Pennsylvania
- Sept. 30 rally and fundraiser in Minnesota
16. No masks were worn at Trump’s debate prep
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said that during debate preparation for Trump from Saturday to Tuesday before the debate, none of the people present wore masks.
“No one was wearing masks in the room when we were prepping the president during that period of time,” Christie said. “And the group was about five or six people, in total.”
Social distancing matters. Here is how to do it and how it can help curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
17. Trump, Pence met with Barrett family in close quarters
Trump and first lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence met with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, her husband, Jesse, and their children in the Oval Office on Sept. 26. Several photos of the event shared by the White House show the group standing and sitting less than 6 feet apart. None are wearing masks.
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump pose for a photo with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the President’s nominee for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, her husband Jesse and their children Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Photo: Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)
18. Nomination ceremony in Rose Garden saw more than 180 people close together
Trump and at least 10 other people who attended a Sept. 26 White House ceremony unveiling Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court have been infected, including two Republican members of the Judiciary Committee.
Though the activity was held outside at the Rose Garden, the majority of the more than 180 people there sat close to each other for an extended period, and most people – including Pence and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany – didn’t wear masks.
graphic of positive people at Rose Garden Event as Oct2 (Photo: Javier Zarracina)
19. Smaller indoor reception unmasked, in close quarters
Though less people were in attendance at the smaller indoor gatherings following the Rose Garden event, few in photos obtained by the New York Times were masked. Both Sec. of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Attorney General William Barr were unmasked and in close contact with people who have since tested positive for COVID-19, including Trump, Sen. Thom Tillis and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
20. Trump, Pence attended indoor event for Gold Star families
Trump and the first lady, Pence and the second lady, and dozens of other people attended a Sept. 27 candle lighting ceremony in the White House East Room in honor of Gold Star Family members. Several photos of the event shared by the White House show the attendees standing and sitting in chairs next to one another. None are wearing masks.
Adm. Charles Ray, the No. 2 officer at the Coast Guard who attended the event, later tested positive for COVID-19. Most of the nation’s top military leaders are now quarantining.
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump join guests in singing “America the Beautiful” during a reception in honor of Gold Star Families Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in the East Room of the White House. (Photo: Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)
21. Pence held Coronavirus Task Force meeting with no masks, distancing
Pence met with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in the White House Situation Room on Sept. 29.
A photo of the meeting shared by the White House shows at least 12 people in the room, most of them sitting around a table without masks on, including CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield. Dr. Deborah Birx also appears to be in the photo without a mask on, but her face is partially obscured.
22. Trump not tested before debate
Trump arrived at the Cleveland Clinic’s Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion Sept. 29 for the first time at 4:23 p.m. for his debate with rival Joe Biden. It was then that he should have been tested for the virus, but according to Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, who moderated the debate, the timing of Trump’s arrival meant there was not enough time for Trump to get tested and receive a result.
23. Trump family, others largely ignored mask rules at debate
(From top) Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, Tiffany Trump and Donald Trump Jr., are seen ahead of the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio on Sept. 29, 2020. (Photo: Jim Watson, AFP via Getty Images)
Wallace said in an interview Friday on his network that the Trump family members – including Ivanka Trump, a presidential adviser – who watched the debate in-person did not wear masks as they were instructed.
Wallace said the rules called for everybody except for Trump, Biden and the moderator to wear face masks. He said a safety personnel member from the Cleveland Clinic came up to the family when they were seated and offered them masks in case they didn’t have them, “and they were waved away.”
24. Trump held fundraiser in New Jersey
Trump participated in a roundtable event with supporters and a fundraising reception at his golf club in Bedminster.
It was after this event that Bloomberg reported senior adviser Hope Hicks was experiencing symptoms associated with the coronavirus. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said the White House learned of Hicks’ positive test as Marine One was lifting off the South Lawn on Thursday to take the president to a fundraiser in New Jersey. Questions later surfaced about why Trump attended the campaign event knowing he had been exposed to someone with a positive test result.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy blasted Trump as “reckless” on Monday for coming to the state last week even though Hicks had been diagnosed with COVID-19. He said his administration is investigating whether the Thursday fundraising event at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster violated the governor’s executive orders by exceeding capacity limits and providing a buffet meal to the 206 attendees.
25. Trump took ride outside hospital
Days after testing positive for COVID-19, Trump was driven around outside Walter Reed Hospital Sunday night to wave at supporters.
Dr. James P. Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed, tweeted that everybody in the vehicle with Trump should be quarantined for 14 days. “They might get sick. They may die,” he tweeted. “For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.”
President Donald Trump left the hospital minutes after tweeting that he was going to surprise supporters outside Walter Reed.
26. Press secretary removed mask to brief reporters
Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who was not quarantining days after several people in the White House had tested positive, removed her mask to brief reporters outside the White House Sunday, one day before she tested positive.
27. Barr may not quarantine for long enough
Attorney General William Barr, who was also present at the White House event, has tested negative for the coronavirus four times since early Friday, a Justice Department spokeswoman said Sunday. He announced that he would temporarily self-quarantine, reversing a decision made that he would not. That said, he said that he was planning on returning back to work “this week,” per CNN.
Video footage of him in close contact with Kellyanne Conway, who tested positive for COVID-19, circulated online soon after Trump’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
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