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A long white house in denial confronts reality



Ms. Hicks, a longtime advisor who is one of the president’s closest advisors, is more concerned, colleagues said. She took more precautions than most, and sometimes wore a mask in meetings.

Colleagues said that newcomers to Mr. Trump’s orbit, such as White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, never wore a mask around him, which other staff interpreted as an attempt to please the new boss.

Over the months, a small number of people in the White House tested positive, including a valet to the President, a top adviser to the Vice President, and Robert C. O̵

7;Brien, the national security adviser. But when few others did, the President’s aides became even less concerned.

By June, a month before Mr O’Brien tested positive, the White House had stopped running temperature tests on people entering the complex. Only those aides who interacted directly with the President received daily tests. Masks remained rare sightings.

The attitude was widespread in the administration. At the Justice Department, Attorney General William P. Barr said in May to a New York Times Magazine reporter who came in mask for an interview, “I’m not going to infect you,” and then sat as an aide suggested. twice for the reporter to take off his mask. The reporter did.

Even on Friday, just hours after the president announced on Twitter at 1 a.m. that he and the First Lady had tested positive, the White House tried to project that it was normal business. “We had a great job report this morning,” Meadows told reporters at the White House. “Unfortunately, that’s not what everyone is focusing on this morning.”

Even so, they made every effort to continue with a mentality that cannot be seen here.

Mr Meadows, who had been in close contact with the President for the past few days, came to work without a mask and continued to claim that a mask was not necessary because he had tested negative. (Mr. Meadows was wearing a mask when he escorted Mr. Trump to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday evening, also in a mask.)


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