Ben Carson horrified viewers of a press conference about the coronavirus when he coughed into his hand, touched his face and the podium.
The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, a former neurosurgeon, appeared at a White House press briefing with President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
He stepped up to the microphone and said: ‘Thank you Mr. Vice President,’ before coughing into his hand. He then put his hand down towards the podium.
He later scratched the side of his nose with his index finger, before he seemingly touched the podium again.
Ben Carson stepped up to the microphone and said: ‘Thank you Mr. Vice President,’ before coughing into his hand. He then put his hand down towards the podium
He later scratched the side of his nose with his index finger, before he seemingly touched the podium again
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises people to cover their mouths and noses with a tissue when coughing or cough into the inside of their elbow.
The faux pas riled up social media users who accused Carson of not leading by example.
BrooklynDad_Defiant! tweeted: ‘It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know that you shouldn’t cough into your hand, and then touch your face, during a coronavirus outbreak.’
Together with a still image of the moment Carson coughed, the Twitter user added: ‘Dr. Ben Carson, actual brain surgeon:’
Molly Conger said: ‘Neurosurgeon dr ben carson leading by example – coughing directly into his hand & immediately touching the podium.’
Echoing the same sentiment, Amee Vanderpool commented: ‘In a presser for coronapreparedness, Ben Carson just coughed into his hand and touched his face, un-ironically giving a demonstration on exactly what not to do.’
At the same press conference, Trump revealed he had been tested for the coronavirus and was awaiting his results, which have since come back negative.
BrooklynDad_Defiant! tweeted: ‘It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know that you shouldn’t cough into your hand, and then touch your face, during a coronavirus outbreak. Dr. Ben Carson, actual brain surgeon’
Molly Conger said: ‘Neurosurgeon dr ben carson leading by example – coughing directly into his hand & immediately touching the podium’
Trump had held out on testing for days despite his interactions with at least three people who have since tested positive for COVID-19.
Trump also told reporters that he had his temperature taken before stepping into the room to discuss the government’s efforts to halt the spread of the virus, and it was ‘totally normal.’
But as the White House grapples with repeated exposures by Trump and multiple senior aides, it has tightened precautions.
On Saturday, the White House announced that it is now conducting temperature checks on anyone who is in close contact with Trump and Pence, including reporters who attended the Saturday White House briefing and anyone entering the Oval Office.
Additional precautions are expected to be rolled out over the weekend.
To that end, a representative from the White House physician’s office took the temperature of members of the media at the briefing, going around and putting the device to their heads.
One reporter with a suspected elevated temperature was not allowed in.
At the same press conference, Trump revealed he had been tested for the coronavirus and was awaiting his results, which have since come back negative
The letter from Trump’s doctor Commander Sean Conley which confirmed his test negative result
Pence also wrote a memo to White House staff Saturday reminding them to take precautions such as avoiding physical contact, washing hands frequently and staying home when sick to help the administration keep the virus at bay.
‘It´s imperative each one of us do our part to take the proper precautions to keep ourselves and our colleagues safe,’ Pence wrote. ‘As an employee aboard the White House Complex, we have an additional duty to protect the health of our Executive Branch and those working with us.’
Trump, 73, is considered to be at higher risk of complications from the disease because of his age.
He has long tried to minimize the threat posed by the virus and continued to engage in behaviors that health officials are warning the public against.
On Friday, Trump shook the hands of multiple officials at his Rose Garden news conference and he has continued to appear at large gatherings despite tweeting Saturday morning that Americans should be practicing ‘SOCIAL DISTANCING!’
‘It almost becomes a habit,’ Trump said when asked why he continues to shake hands contrary to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
‘People come up to me, they shake hands, they put their hand out, it’s sort of a natural reflex,’ he said. ‘We’re all getting out of it. All of us have that problem.’ He added: ‘Shaking hands is not a great thing to be doing right now, I agree.’
Trump has now had multiple direct and indirect contacts with people who have since tested positive for the virus, including three people he spent time with last weekend at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
The Brazilian Embassy in Washington said late Friday that the country’s chargé d’affaires, Nestor Forster, tested positive after sitting at Trump’s dinner table.
So, too, have a top aide to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who took a photo with Trump and attended a party with him, and another person who attended a campaign fundraiser with the president that Sunday, according to two Republican officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss private health matters.
Republican chairwoman Ronna McDaniel is awaiting her own test results after experiencing a fever and flu-like symptoms. She and her family are quarantining at home, the RNC said Saturday.
Several top administration officials, including Attorney General William Barr and Trump’s daughter and senior adviser, Ivanka Trump, also met last week with an Australian Cabinet minister who on Friday was confirmed positive.
A handful of other White House staffers have been tested for the virus after exhibiting flu-like symptoms, but have all tested negative, according to a senior White House official.