The White House Covid-19 dragnet, which captured at least 14 White House employees, senior campaign and party officials, Trump advisors and Republican senators, has shown the extent to which Trump is putting his orbit at risk from his desire to pre-project -pandemic normality with frequent travel and events avoiding the wearing of masks and restricting the crowd. The final data point came on Monday when White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, along with two other press officials, announced that she had contracted the disease.
They are by no means the only ones having negative consequences from their time in Trumpworld.
Trump has ridden through cabinet secretaries and senior White House officials at historic rates. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was once in the running for both Vice President and Attorney General in charge of overseeing the 2016 presidential change. Then he was pushed aside during the transition and moved on to the cabinet position he wanted most. He is now hospitalized with coronavirus after helping Trump prepare for his first presidential debate with Democratic candidate Joe Biden. In Florida, Trump’s youngest ex-campaign manager was recently taken into custody by police after threatening to harm himself weeks after Trump was downgraded.
Trump could endanger a slew of new White House employees by returning to the complex Monday night while he was still infected – even as he announced, “I’m better now.” In a briefing ahead of Trump’s return, Sean Conley, the president’s doctor, wouldn’t say if Trump was still contagious, but admitted he could be. And Conley wouldn’t elaborate on whether Trump would remain confined to the residence or certain parts of the White House, which means he could continue to visit the Oval Office if there were staff working in the west wing.
The decision fits into a pattern familiar to Trump’s orbit: the president hires aides and dumps them as soon as he’s fed up with them or feels they no longer serve him the way he wants them to. The ultimate test is always loyalty and a willingness to grant the president’s wishes at any cost.
“What we are seeing is the culture of a group of people who, for one reason or another, felt invincible to the virus,” said Olivia Troye, the former advisor to the Vice President’s White House coronavirus task force who now supports Joe Biden.
“Now they are facing reality because they have their own breakout and are part of the cluster,” she added. “I’m glad I’m not there anymore.”
In a statement, White House spokesman Judd Deere insisted that the government “take all necessary precautions not to just protect.” [the president] and the first family, but everyone who works in the complex, “said the White House followed guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Physical access to the President will be severely restricted and appropriate PPE will be worn around him,” added Deere.
In his pre-release briefing, Conley Deere reiterated: “We will do everything we can to ensure that the President does what he can from the White House.”
Trump only projected confidence after returning to the White House.
“Don’t let yourself be dominated. Don’t be afraid of it. You will beat it,” Trump said in recorded comments posted on Twitter.
But helpers are afraid.