On Monday, October 5, nine White House reporters gave anonymous interviews with CNN Business and other news outlets on their anger with the White House. Several journalists, including these nine, said they do not feel safe at the White House and avoid entering the grounds unless the situation is critical. At least three reporters have already tested positive for Coronavirus.
As President Trump continues to downplay the virus, even after his own recent diagnosis and health difficulties, reporters and family members of those lost to COVID-19 this year are letting the public know this is unacceptable.
Reporter Ben Tracy tweeted about the dangers, “I felt safer reporting in North Korea than I currently do reporting at The White House. This is just crazy.”
The day Trump released himself from Walter Reed Medical Center against doctors’ advice, he tweeted, “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of COVID. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”
Still infected and contagious, Trump intentionally removed his mask before entering the White House to pose for photos, causing further fury, frustration, and fear from those around. Reporters believe that the President and his administration have grossly mishandled the outbreak and recklessly endangered the lives of reporters and many others with this kind of behavior and direct refusal to follow CDC guidelines.
Multiple briefings were held this past week with White House representatives refusing to wear masks, after which many of the personnel tested positive. White House Press Secretary, Kayleigh KcEnany held another briefing after knowing that other aides had tested positive and refused to wear a mask or quarantine as guidelines require, further exposing reporters to the virus.
One reporter stated in their interview with CNN Business, “It’s not just frustrating, it’s infuriating. As White House reporters we put our health at risk every day. We have families of our own. We expect people working at the same facility as us to take the same measures. But they don’t and because of this recklessness we are more worried than ever about our health.”
Another said to CNN Business, “It’s not a safe place to work and hasn’t been in a long time,” said a third reporter. “They don’t wear masks. They clearly haven’t cared as much as they should have for seven months — large meetings, large rallies, large everything. No masks on planes. Inconsistent testing. Every life reliant on a rapid testing system that doesn’t really work. And they have mocked and attacked us for pointing that out repeatedly.”
The White House Correspondents Association president, Zeke Miller, declined to comment in response to these happenings on Monday.
“Before this happened you could trust that we are getting tested and the President and his aides are being tested so we will probably be fine,” one reporter told CNN Business. “This last week makes you wonder if that’s actually the case.”