Trump's Return Leaves White House in Disarray as Infections Jolt West Wing

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  tessylo  •  2 weeks ago  •  30 comments

By:   Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni, The New York Times

Trump's Return Leaves White House in Disarray as Infections Jolt West Wing

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T




Trump's Return Leaves White House in Disarray as Infections Jolt West Wing












Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni
Wed, October 7, 2020, 8:16 AM EDT










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President Donald Trump speaks during a discussion with State Attorneys General in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Sept. 23, 2020. (Oliver Contreras/The New York Times)

The White House that President Donald Trump woke up in Tuesday morning was in full-blown chaos, even by the standards of the havoc of the Trump era.

Aides said the president’s voice was stronger after his return from the hospital Monday night, but at times he still sounded as if he was trying to catch air. The West Wing was mostly empty, cleared of advisers who were out sick with the coronavirus themselves or told to work from home rather than in the capital’s most famous virus hot spot. Staff members in the White House residence were in full personal protective equipment, including yellow gowns, surgical masks and disposable protective eye covers.

Four more White House officials tested positive, including Stephen Miller, a top adviser to Trump, bringing to 14 the number of people carrying the virus at the White House or in the president’s close circle. Trump, diagnosed with COVID-19 last week, was still livid at his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, whose effort Saturday to tamp down the rosy portrait of Trump’s condition given to reporters by his chief doctor was caught on camera. Other officials were angry with Meadows for not even trying to control the president.

Some aides tried to project confidence — “We feel comfortable working here, those of us who are still here,” Alyssa Farah, the White House communications director, said in an interview on Fox News — but many saw the situation as spiraling out of control. The pandemic that Trump had treated cavalierly for months seemed to have locked its grip on the White House. West Wing aides, shaken by polls showing the president badly trailing Joe Biden, worried that they were living through the final days of the Trump administration.


The disarray was at the same time spreading across Washington. Almost the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff, including its chairman, Gen. Mark A. Milley, went into quarantine Tuesday after coming in contact with Adm. Charles W. Ray, vice commandant of the Coast Guard, who tested positive for the coronavirus. Late in the day, the stock market took a dive when Trump abruptly called off talks for a congressional coronavirus relief bill after the Fed chair, Jerome Powell, said such a stimulus was badly needed.


Some White House staff members wondered whether Trump’s behavior was spurred by the cocktail of drugs he has been taking to treat the coronavirus, including dexamethasone, a steroid that can cause mood swings and can give a false level of energy and a sense of euphoria.

Staff members said the president was glad to be back in the White House after spending four days and three nights at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, which aides said made him feel as if he were in a cage. Meadows and Bobby Peede, director of the White House advance team, kept him company there for hours and served as a lifeline to the rest of the administration. He summoned another aide, Max Miller, on Sunday to stay with him.

Aides said that Trump made calls from the White House on Tuesday and roamed the areas of the presidential residence that had been set up for him. Although he was described as itching to get back into the Oval Office and show that he was in charge, a potential live address to the nation was discussed but scrapped in favor of a planned taped one.

Prominent supporters of the administration said Trump should have stayed at the hospital until he was no longer infectious or should remain confined to his residence.

“When a boss comes down with COVID, whether that boss is the president, a CEO, a principal at a school, a union foreman on a shop floor, and the boss shows up for work, it sends a very worrisome message to all of those around the boss,” said Ari Fleischer, a former press secretary to President George W. Bush. “There is a community of people who work in the White House, not just political appointees. A good boss always takes care of his or her employees.”

Still unknown was the exact status of the president’s health. Dr. Sean Conley, the White House physician, said Tuesday that the president “reports no symptoms” of the virus and that his vital signs were stable, but no one at the White House would say what the “expected findings” were on Trump’s chest X-ray that Conley had mentioned over the weekend.

There were no answers, either, on when Trump last tested negative for the virus — a crucial piece of information that the White House and Conley have refused to answer and would establish the known state of Trump’s health before the presidential debate last Tuesday or before he attended a fundraiser in New Jersey on Thursday. The White House first made public that Trump had tested positive early Friday.

Two officials maintained that Trump had been tested before the presidential debate, but the White House has yet to affirm that.

White House officials conceded Tuesday that there had been an impression created that Trump was getting tested every day and a reliance on testing as if it were a curative measure as opposed to a diagnostic.

Yet the president himself was not tested every day, according to two people familiar with the practices. A senior administration official would only say Tuesday that Trump was tested “regularly.” Trump himself told reporters in the White House briefing room in July that “I do take probably on average a test every two days, three days.”

As the day progressed Tuesday, parts of the White House resembled a hazard zone. Workers dressed in head-to-toe protective suits sanitized common spaces in the West Wing, and staff members were told that the White House residence had hired a “well-being” consultant whom they could speak with anonymously, specifically to focus on mental health concerns.

Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary who tested positive for the virus Monday, appeared on television from her home. Hope Hicks, Trump’s close adviser who has also tested positive, had been trying to help with messaging for the videos the president shot at Walter Reed and the remarks on the virus he wanted to make upon his return.

And the finger-pointing continued.

Hicks had been upset last week that she was being blamed for infecting the president, according to three people who had spoken with her. She had not attended a Rose Garden event announcing Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court and had tested positive for the virus on the same day as Trump and the first lady — making it just as likely that she had contracted the virus from the president.

Among White House advisers, anger grew at McEnany because her statement announcing her diagnosis appeared to blame Hicks. There was also frustration from many corners at Meadows for not doing more to try to protect the staff, a criticism that his defenders said was unfair given the scope of his duties.

On Monday night, some of the staff members still at the White House had gathered to watch Trump’s return. When he defiantly took off his mask on the Truman Balcony for a made-for-television moment, aides said it was of course a statement. But they also wondered if the face covering was making it harder for the president to breathe.

Either way, some of them shrugged off the message it was sending to tens of millions of Americans about taking the coronavirus seriously.

The sentiment, according to one aide to Trump, was that “it’s his house.”

This article originally appeared in   The New York Times .

© 2020 The New York Times Company









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Tessylo
1  seeder  Tessylo    2 weeks ago

And the finger pointing continues.  The 'president' is responsible for this clusterfuck.  Him and him alone.  

 
 
 
devangelical
1.1  devangelical  replied to  Tessylo @1    2 weeks ago

gee, what a bummer ...

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
1.2  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Tessylo @1    2 weeks ago

If you were a member of the Secret Service, imagine how pissed off you would be?  Here you are sworn to take a bullet to protect Trump, and the POS won't even wear a mask to protect you to reciprocate.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
1.2.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1.2    2 weeks ago

I know what I would do if I were one of his SS agents....vote for Biden

 
 
 
Tessylo
2  seeder  Tessylo    2 weeks ago

"Staff members said the president was glad to be back in the White House after spending four days and three nights at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, which aides said made him feel as if he were in a cage. Meadows and Bobby Peede, director of the White House advance team, kept him company there for hours and served as a lifeline to the rest of the administration. He summoned another aide, Max Miller, on Sunday to stay with him."

What a big baby.  

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
2.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Tessylo @2    2 weeks ago

He couldn't stay by himself?????

 
 
 
Tessylo
3  seeder  Tessylo    2 weeks ago

And the finger-pointing continued.

Hicks had been upset last week that she was being blamed for infecting the president, according to three people who had spoken with her. She had not attended a Rose Garden event announcing Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court and had tested positive for the virus on the same day as Trump and the first lady — making it just as likely that she had contracted the virus from the president.

Among White House advisers, anger grew at McEnany because her statement announcing her diagnosis appeared to blame Hicks. There was also frustration from many corners at Meadows for not doing more to try to protect the staff, a criticism that his defenders said was unfair given the scope of his duties.

On Monday night, some of the staff members still at the White House had gathered to watch Trump’s return. When he defiantly took off his mask on the Truman Balcony for a made-for-television moment, aides said it was of course a statement. But they also wondered if the face covering was making it harder for the president to breathe.

Either way, some of them shrugged off the message it was sending to tens of millions of Americans about taking the coronavirus seriously.

The sentiment, according to one aide to Trump, was that “it’s his house.”

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
3.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Tessylo @3    2 weeks ago

And the blame game begins.

Cracks me up.

And I guess Meadows didn't test positive. I told somebody a few days ago that he did and I apologize for that

 
 
 
Tessylo
3.1.1  seeder  Tessylo  replied to  Trout Giggles @3.1    2 weeks ago

No worries TG.  At least you, unlike so many here, admit when you said something in error, and don't double and triple down.  

 
 
 
devangelical
3.1.2  devangelical  replied to  Trout Giggles @3.1    2 weeks ago

no big deal.

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
3.2  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Tessylo @3    2 weeks ago

“it’s his house.”

No.... That is our house.... We the people's house!

 
 
 
Tessylo
4  seeder  Tessylo    2 weeks ago

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Gsquared
5  Gsquared    2 weeks ago

"made him feel as if he were in a cage"

Screw him.  Ask all the children he stuck in cages how it feels.

Trump was in a plush 4 room Presidential suite at Walter Reed.  Wait until he finds out what it feels like in his cage at Supermax.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
5.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Gsquared @5    2 weeks ago

I hear those cells are just big enough for a 6 foot man to lie down in. And you're in there approximately 23 hours a day....or are those the cells for terrorists?

 
 
 
devangelical
5.1.1  devangelical  replied to  Trout Giggles @5.1    2 weeks ago

... foreign and domestic.

 
 
 
Gsquared
5.1.2  Gsquared  replied to  Trout Giggles @5.1    2 weeks ago

Yes, the worst of the worst.  Melania asked if she could redecorate...

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
5.1.3  Trout Giggles  replied to  Gsquared @5.1.2    2 weeks ago

Do you think she saved any of those red Christmas trees?

 
 
 
devangelical
5.1.4  devangelical  replied to  Trout Giggles @5.1.3    2 weeks ago

she probably had a proxy sell them at the local flea market and then pocketed the tax free cash.

 
 
 
Tessylo
6  seeder  Tessylo    2 weeks ago

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Tessylo
7  seeder  Tessylo    2 weeks ago

121068506_994255051079535_8075182108655884931_n.jpg?_nc_cat=110&_nc_sid=730e14&_nc_ohc=8VAhhUbJaPUAX-SI-kH&_nc_ht=scontent-iad3-1.xx&tp=6&oh=d9e254227d14f3c48b07889a3acc21c4&oe=5FA44DDD

 
 
 
JohnRussell
8  JohnRussell    2 weeks ago
Former Vice President  Joe Biden  has opened up a massive lead in a poll that is often cited by President  Donald Trump  as one of his favorites.

The   latest Rasmussen Reports survey  offers a grim forecast for the president. It shows him trailing Biden by 12 points, 52 percent to 40 percent, among likely voters. That’s a 4 point swing from last week, and a 13 point swing from two weeks ago — when a Rasmussen survey  showed Trump leading by 1 .

Trump regularly touts his Rasmussen approval ratings when the number exceeds 50 percent — which is a rarity in other surveys. FiveThirtyEight  gives Rasmussen a C+ grade  as a pollster. They correctly forecasted the 2016 presidential race, but  erred badly on the 2018 midterms .

The poll covered the period from Sept. 30-Oct. 6. The debate between Trump and Biden took place on Sept. 29, and the president was diagnosed with Covid-19 on the evening of Oct. 1. The margin of error is 2 percent.

https://www.mediaite.com/election-2020/biden-soars-to-double-digit-lead-in-trump-favored-rasmussen-poll/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+mediaite%2FClHj+%28Mediaite%29
 
 
 
JohnRussell
8.1  JohnRussell  replied to  JohnRussell @8    2 weeks ago

I think Trump's revolting debate performance was the final tipping point. Unless people are lying to the pollsters, it's all over. 

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
8.1.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  JohnRussell @8.1    2 weeks ago

Lets seal the deal for Biden and let the two of them have another debate, or better yet, have a town hall format where Trump has to answer directly to voters.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
8.1.2  JohnRussell  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @8.1.1    2 weeks ago

It's hard to see what could happen in the next four weeks that would turn it around for Trump. Hunter Biden?  lol. 

 
 
 
FLYNAVY1
8.1.3  FLYNAVY1  replied to  JohnRussell @8.1.2    2 weeks ago

Let's just get people out to vote John.....

I want the election to be so lopsided that Trump and his minions don't have a leg to stand on.

 
 
 
Gsquared
8.1.4  Gsquared  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @8.1.3    2 weeks ago

Exactly

 
 
 
Tessylo
8.1.5  seeder  Tessylo  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @8.1.3    2 weeks ago

My dad is voting and he hadn't been for some time now.  

I'm fortunate that my polling station is just across the street from me.  I can vote in person or drop off my ballot in the ballot box.

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
8.1.6  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  Tessylo @8.1.5    2 weeks ago
I'm fortunate that my polling station is just across the street from me.  I can vote in person or drop off my ballot in the ballot box.

Funny. Some time back you were, if memory serves, touting the fact you vote by mail.

jrSmiley_26_smiley_image.gif

And it's right across the street? That's convenient.

 
 
 
Texan1211
8.1.7  Texan1211  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @8.1.6    2 weeks ago

You know, down here in the "backward" South, I can simply go into ANY polling station in the entire county, show my ID, and vote.

We have 15 full days of early voting, plus Election Day, plus absentee ballots.

Seems awfully easy to nme.

 
 
 
Tessylo
8.1.9  seeder  Tessylo  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @8.1.6    2 weeks ago

Your memory serves you incorrectly.

You are incorrect, yet again.  

 
 
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