A Twitter feud erupted between two White House news correspondents after one of them accused the other of ‘shaming’ him for not wearing a face covering during President Trump’s news briefing on Monday.
John Roberts of Fox News was photographed by his ABC News colleague Jonathan Karl while sitting in his chair in the White House Rose Garden moments before Trump took to the podium.
While the other reporters pictured were wearing face coverings, Roberts was not, as Karl pointed out.
ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl posted a tweet on Monday saying that ‘almost everybody’ in the White House Rose Garden was wearing a mask
Karl then attached a photo showing a group of reporters seated on the lawn. One of them, John Roberts of Fox News, is seen right without a mask
Roberts replied on Twitter that he felt Karl was ‘shaming’ him and that he was being ‘petty’
‘Almost everybody in the Rose Garden is wearing a mask – almost everybody,’ the ABC News journalist tweeted on Monday.
Karl then posted four pictures showing journalists and White House aides wearing face coverings both before and during the news conference.
Roberts, however, was conspicuously without one as he sat and looked over his notes before the president took questions.
The Fox News correspondent than tweeted a response to Karl, writing: ‘What, exactly is the basis for this petty effort at shaming???’
Roberts noted that he was ‘more than 6ft away from the closest person’ and that ‘when the press conference gan, I put mask on.’
Moments after that picture was taken, Roberts and Karl were both seen wearing masks
Karl later told The Hill that his intent was not to shame anyone. He posted the photos to show the ‘extraordinary scene’ of ‘just about everybody wearing a mask in the Rose Garden’
Photos from the news conference show Roberts wearing a mask as he stepped up to the microphone to ask Trump a question.
Karl told The Hill that he never intended to shame Roberts.
‘It was an extraordinary scene,’ Karl told The Hill.
‘I wasn’t shaming anybody. I simply tweeted four photos showing just about everybody wearing a mask in the Rose Garden – something we have never seen before.’
White House staff including Jared Kushner FINALLY wear masks after Donald Trump’s valet and Mike Pence’s press secretary test positive for the coronavirus – but president is STILL bare-faced
White House staff were told Monday they must wear a mask at all times when they enter or move around the building, after a coronavirus cluster started at the president’s home.
The directive went high up the chain – with the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, an influential advisor to the president, donning a mask during a Wednesday afternoon press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar also wore a mask, as did deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley.
No mask: President Donald Trump defended his administration’s record on testing as he unveiled equipment at the White House – but unlike his staff he did not wear a mask
Masked officials: White House press secretary Kayleih McEnany (left) as well as technical support staff were all wearing masks for the first time
Jared masked: The president’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner followed the new protocol brought in after the president’s valet and Mike Pence’s press secretary tested positive for coronavirus
Obeying the rules: Jared Kushner wore a mask throughout the press briefing
Distanced audience: The White House put newly-masked officials in front of a rple line and reporters behind for the press conference
Masks are the new uniform: White House staffers finally caught up with other workplaces Monday and lined up at a Rose Garden press conference to cover up – although not all stood six feet apart
Protective detail: Secret Service agents were also spotted in masks for the first time during the president’s press conference
Rose Garden cover-up: White House staff members wore masks to listen to their boss speak at a press briefing, the first time new rules have been in place since two positive diagnoses at the White House
Accessorized: Deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley was wearing sunglasses over his surgical mask
Protect and serve: Uniformed and plains clothes members of the Secret Service were wearing masks as the president spoke
Masked press corps: Reporters at the Rose Garden press briefing -including Francesca Chambers of McClatchy newspapers (center) – all covered up to come into the White House
‘Just about everybody has a face mask on,’ President Trump observed at the news conference, where the president used his own podium that he did not have to share with other officials who spoke. Reporters asked him questions speaking through masks of their own, and bending over so their voices could get picked up by shared microphones they did not touch.
Trump said he personally had issued the order, and said he is ensuring he is not close to ‘anybody’ and observing social distancing.
Instead of answering directly, Trump spoke about the policy as of Monday. ‘Just about everybody I’ve seen today has worn a mask,’ Trump said.
‘I don’t think the system broke down at all. One person tested positive, surprisingly, because the previous day, [she] tested negative,’ Trump said.
‘It can happen. It’s the hidden enemy, remember that. It’s the hidden enemy. So, things happen.
Trump referenced three coronavirus task force members who tested negative after coming into contact with Katie Miller, an aide he identified publicly Friday.
‘But the three tested negative. The one who tested positive will be fine, will be absolutely fine,’ Trump said.
‘I felt no vulnerability whatsoever,’ Trump said.
All workers in the West Wing were told by email Monday that they only time they can take off their masks is when at their desks and as long as they are socially distanced at the time. They are also discouraged from inviting in guests, ABC News reported.
The move is a dramatic walk back of weeks of the White House ignoring its own CDC guidance that masks reduce the chance of infection spreading.
White House senior advisor to the president Jared Kushner wears a protective face mask in the Rose Garden as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a coronavirus disease
New White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also wore a mask, although she did not at her press briefing Friday
Members of the White House staff and the U.S. Secret Service stand along the West Wing colonnade prior to U.S. President Donald Trump holding the coronavirus
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany (L) wears a face mask during a press briefing about coronavirus testing in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 11, 2020 in Washington, DC
Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar and others wear face masks while attending a press briefing about coronavirus testing in the Rose Garden
Mike Pence was set to return to the White House Monday. On Friday, a top aide to the vice president tested positive for the coronavirus
But the memo did not say if Donald Trump would lead by example, while Vice President Mike Pence arrived for work Monday without wearing a mask.
The White House was scrambling to deal with a coronavirus crisis in its own corridors after Donald Trump’s valet and Mike Pence’s press secretary both tested positive for the disease.
Despite the potential that he was exposed to the virus, Pence went to his office in the Old Executive Office Building (OEB) Monday after speculation on Sunday that he would go into self-quarantine.
But he chaired a coronavirus task force conference call with governors from a room alone, while other officials stayed in the Situation Room, ABC News reported.
‘Many of you heard that we had a couple of staff members that tested positive,’ he told participants as he explained why he was by himself.
WHO’S CAUGHT IN WHITE HOUSE VIRUS CLUSTER
Donald Trump’s personal valet, a Navy steward whose identity remains unknown
Tested positive after suffering symptoms and is now off work. Trump claimed to have had ‘very little contact’ with him
Katie Miller, Mike Pence’s press secretary and spokeswoman for the coronavirus task force
Tested positive May 8, the day after going to a nursing home without wearing a mask. Now self-quarantining but her husband Stephen Miller is not. Unclear who she contracted virus from
Dr. Tony Fauci, member of the coronavirus task force, nation’s leading expert on infectious disease
Self-isolating after contact with Katie Miller. Says it will be ‘modified’; will give evidence to the Senate by video link
Dr. Stephen Hahn, Commissioner of Food and Drugs, head of the FDA, member of coronavirus task force
Self-isolating after contact with Katie Miller. Was tested and is negative
Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, member of the coronavirus task force
Self-isolating after contact with Katie Miller. Says he will come to White House if required
Vice President Mike Pence, head of the coronavirus task force
Extensive contact with Katie Miller but says he is not self-isolating. Went to Iowa after she tested positive for meeting where others were asked to remove masks
Dr. Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator
Some contact with Katie Miller but is not self-isolating
General Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Tested both positive and negative; did not attend Saturday meeting of the president and the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Admiral Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations, member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Self-quarantining for a week after coming into contact with a family member who tested positive; did not attend Saturday meeting of the president and the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds
Reynolds announced that she would be undergoing a ‘modified quarantine plan’ after learning she was in contact with Miller. She was notified this weekend that the aide was present when Reynolds visited the White House last week.
His aide Katie Miller tested positive on Friday after displaying symptoms on Thursday, when she went with the vice president to a nursing home near Washington D.C., and neither wore masks.
Her contacts were traced Friday. As well as being Pence’s press secretary, she is spokeswoman for the coronavirus task force which he leads.
That prompted Dr. Tony Fauci to go into ‘modified’ quarantine, along with the FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn and the CDC director, Dr. Robert Redfield.
But Pence ‘has tested negative every single day and plans to be at the White House,’ spokesman Devin O’Malley said in a statement.
According to the new directive, the White House is now ‘requiring everyone who enters the West Wing to wear a mask or facial covering … Staff who sit in the West Wing are not required to wear a facial covering while at their desk if they are appropriately socially distanced from their colleagues.’
Pence’s decision to come to work comes as the White House takes steps to continue to project an image of resolute action despite it now being the nation’s most high-profile center of infection – with Kevin Hassett, one of Trump’s economic advisers calling working there ‘scary’ and saying he’d be ‘safer at home than in the West Wing.’
The new policy comes just minutes before the president was to hold a news conference where some of his top advisors are sidelined and Pence was not expected to attend. And it comes a day before a Senate hearing titled: ‘COVID-19: Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School.’
All four key witnesses are to testify remotely, as is Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions chair Lamar Alexander, who was exposed to someone who an aide who tested positive.
President Trump had revealed Friday that Miller, who is married to his immigration adviser and speechwriter Stephen Miller, had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Pence and his team learned about the test on Friday shortly before he was to fly to Iowa for an event – an event he undertook without a mask.
The list of impacted people grew on Monday, when Iowa’s Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that she would be undergoing a ‘modified quarantine plan’ after learning she was in contact with Miller, the Washington Post reported. She was notified this weekend that the aide was present when she visited Washington.
CNN reported Monday that it was still not known how Katie Miller had become infected.
It does not appear she had been in close contact with the White House Navy valet who tested positive last Wednesday.
He has not been named, but his contact with other West Wing staff appears to have been limited.
But the two cases did prompt changes in the White House Monday.
The Secret Service agents charged with safeguarding the president will finally begin wearing protective masks – even as the president himself continues to shy from the practice.
The agents are among many people who work in the White House complex who are preparing to undertake new precautions after two people who work there tested positive for the virus – as a senior official admitted it was ‘scary’ to go and work at the building.
White House aides – almost all of whom have declined to wear masks even as the White House and the Centers for Disease Control encouraged Americans to start using them – may now undertake new social distancing measures while at work, ABC News reported.
Agents who are close to the president or who are near the Oval Office will don the masks, according to the report – which follows news that a valet who has been in close proximity to Trump tested positive for the coronavirus.
A measure under consideration is to have White House aides stand six feet apart, a key CDC recommendation to prevent the spread of the virus – including during their meetings with the president.
That requirement has been part of normal life for Americans for weeks, but had not been enforced at the White House.
However people scheduled to meet with Trump – a self-described germophobe – will continue to be tested.
For weeks, outsiders who came to the White House to meet with Trump have been tested.
Reporters who attend White House briefings were tested on one occasion, but now must undergo only temperature checks before participating and entering the White House complex.
In recent days reporters at White House briefings have kept masks on, but staff including new press secretary Kayleigh McEnany have not.
Yuma Regional Medical Center registered nurses Daena Zamora, left, and Rebecca Adame work with one of the participants during the YRMC COVID-19 ‘Testing Blitz’ in the Yuma Civic Center parking lot, Saturday, May 9, 2020, in Yuma, Ariz.
However one of Donald Trump’s top economic advisers admitted Sunday that it’s ‘scary’ to think about going back to work, voicing his own concerns about working at the White House in the midst of the pandemic.
‘It is scary to go to work,’ Kevin Hassett told CBS News Sunday morning. ‘I think that I’d be a lot safer if I was sitting at home than I would be going to the West Wing. But, you know, it’s the time when people have to step up and serve their country.’
‘Do you wear a mask? Are you going to continue to show up for work at the White House?’ CBS News’ Margaret Brennan posed to Hassett as Trump continues to face criticisms for not wearing a mask in public.
Even amid growing infection rates and deaths across the country, White House officials have avoided embracing mask protocols. Last Tuesday, when Trump flew to Arizona, aides including Hope Hicks, Jared Kushner, and Dan Scavino walked closely off Marine One without wearing masks.
‘I’ve got a mask right here,’ Hassett said. ‘And the fact is that I practice aggressive social distancing. I’ll wear a mask when I feel it’s necessary.’
Hassett acknowledged that it is ‘risky’ to work in the West Wing because it is a ‘small, crowded place.’
The economic adviser’s admission of fear also comes as several states have begun to implement the easing of lockdown and stay-at-home restrictions.
At local levels, some states, counties and localities have decided to begin reopening by permitting non-essential businesses to operate and opening up areas that were shutdown to maintain social distancing guidelines – like beaches, golf courses and marinas.
Trump’s Democratic challenge Joe Biden turned the White House’s crisis into a political attacking, blasted the Trump administration for failing to line-up adequate testing for the coronavirus for the nation, but trying to make the West Wing safe.
‘It’s been more than two months since Trump claimed that ‘anybody that wants a test can get a test.’ Biden wrote in a new op-ed in the Washington Post.
‘The administration is fully aware that this is the right path, too — after all, the president and his staff are now reportedly receiving daily tests.
‘They knew exactly how to make the Oval Office safe and operational, and they put in the work to do it. They just haven’t put in that same work for the rest of us.’
Without testing, he wrote, the nation cannot go ahead with the phased reopening taking place.
‘If we’re going to have thriving workplaces, restaurants, stores and parks, we need widespread testing. Trump can’t seem to provide it — to say nothing of worker safety protocols, consistent health guidelines or clear federal leadership to coordinate a responsible reopening,’ he wrote.
Biden cited Friday unemployment figures, which give the nation the highest unemployment since the Great Depression, saying the task called for ‘urgent, steady, empathetic, unifying leadership.’
Trump has repeatedly hailed testing in the U.S., saying at the end of April it was ‘much better than any other country in the world.’
Trump also tweeted: ‘The only reason the U.S. has reported one million cases of coronavirus is that our testing is sooo much better than any other country in the world.
‘Other countries are way behind us in testing, and therefore show far fewer cases,’ he claimed.
The U.S. has more than 1.3 million coronavirus cases, more than any country in the world.
Public health experts have said the nation needs to ramp up testing as it reopens to identify people who have the infection and isolate them to keep them from spreading it.
The nation has been testing about 250,000 people per day, although experts at Harvard’s Global Health Institute have proposed more than 900,000 per day, amid a nationwide call to ramp up contact tracing to track down those who came in contact with infected people.
‘Why are you saying that to me?’ Asian American reporter challenges Donald Trump when he tells her to ‘ask China’ why there are so many deaths – then cuts off press conference after dispute with female CNN journalist
- President Donald Trump berated an Asian American reporter that asked him about the death rate due to the coronavirus
- Trump then cut off his press conference after a CNN reporter he previously clashed with tried to question him
- CBS News’ Weijia Jiang asked the president why he was talking about successful test rates when so many people were still dying from coronavirus
- She did not mention China but Trump did in his response
- ‘Don’t ask me. Ask China that question, okay,’ Trump said
- Trump moved on to CNN’s Kaitlin Collins, who let Jiang asked a follow up
- ‘Why are you saying that to me,’ asked Jiang, who is Chinese American
- Trump snapped at her and then refused to answer a question from Collins
- When Collins pressed the president, Trump ended the press conference
President Donald Trump berated an Asian American reporter who asked him about the death rate due to the coronavirus – suggesting she ask the Chinese – and then cut off his press conference after a CNN reporter he previously clashed with tried to question him.
The president on Monday had another round of run-ins with CBS News’ Weijia Jiang and CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, each of whom he’s bickered with at previous press conferences.
Trump previously said neither Jiang nor her fellow CBS News reporter was a ‘Donna Reed’ and White House staff tried to move Collins out of her front row seat to the back of the briefing room in late April.
President Donald Trump berated an Asian American reporter that asked him about the death rate due to the coronavirus
President Trump clashed with CBS News’ Weijia Jiang (sitting in the red jacket) and CNN’s Kaitlan Collins (standing in the white jacket) in the White House Rose Garden press conference
Abrupt end: Donald Trump suddenly ended his press conference with an argument with CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins immediately after calling Weijia Jiang’s question ‘nasty’
Rapid departure: Unexpectedly Trump left the Rose Garden podium after clashing with two female reporters
Trump was testy with both of them again on Monday.
Jiang asked President Trump why he was emphasizing the United States’ led in testing for the coronavirus when there was still a high rate of infection. ‘Why does that matter? Why is it global competition to you if every day Americans are still losing their lives and we are still seeing more cases every day?’ she asked.
‘Maybe that’s a question you should ask China,’ Trump responded. The administration has tried to put the blame for the coronavirus on China.
‘Don’t ask me. Ask China that question, okay,’ the president said. ‘When you ask them that question, you make it a very unusual answer.’
He then moved on to call on Collins. ‘Yes behind you please,’ he said.
But, before she went to the microphone, Collins said to Jiang: ‘Do you want to follow up?’
Jiang, who is Chinese American, asked Trump: ‘Sir, why are you saying that to me -specifically.’
Her implication seemed to be the president answered her that way because of her race. Jiang did not mention China in her question but Trump brought it up in his response.
‘I’m not saying it specifically to anybody,’ Trump said. ‘I’m saying that to anyone who would ask a nasty question like that.’
‘That’s not a nasty question,’ she responded.
Trump moved on to call on another reporter. ‘Anyone else? Please go ahead. In the back.’
Collins stepped up to the microphone: ‘I have two questions.’
Trump waved her off. ‘No it’s okay. We’ll go over here. Next.’
‘You called on me,’ Collins told him.
‘I did. And you didn’t respond,’ the president said.
CBS News’ Weijia Jiang, who is Chinese American, asked President Trump why he mentioned China in his answer to her question, which was not about China
CNN’s Kaitlin Collins tried to ask her question but Trump ended his press conference
‘I just wanted to let my colleague finish,’ Collins said, gesturing to Jiang.
And, with that, Trump ended his press conference.
‘Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. Appreciate it,’ he said and turned to walk back into the Oval Office.
The president has faced criticism for what appears to be a disproportion series of attacks on female reporters. Also facing his wrath has been Paula Reid of CBS News and Yamiche Alcindor of PBS.
In mid-April, Trump told Jiang to ‘keep your voice down’ as she asked him about what he did to warn the American people in February that the coronavirus was being spread like ‘wildfire.’
Jiang pointed to comments Trump had made earlier, in which he said he was ‘angry’ because information about the coronavirus ‘should have been told to us’ earlier.
‘Many Americans are saying the exact same thing about you, that you should have warned them the virus was spreading like wildfire through the month of February, instead of holding rallies with thousands of people,’ Jiang said. ‘Why did you wait so long to warn them?’
Trump interrupted Jiang to ask her ‘who are you with?’ and then pointed to his late January ban of flights coming in from China.
‘Chinese nationals … by the way, not Americans who were also coming in from China,’ Jiang corrected the president.
To this he responded to the reporter by saying, ‘Nice and easy.’ ‘Nice and easy, just relax,’ Trump said.
MEET TRUMP’S LATEST TARGET
Weijia Jiang got her first broadcast news break for Channel One aged just 13 when she was a student reporter and anchor for the children’s network which was also a proving ground for CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Fox and Friends’ Brian Kilmeade.
Jiang was born in Xiamen, China, to parents who immigrated to West Virginia when she was two. They ran a Chinese restaurant in Buckhannon in the state’s coal-mining belt.
She went on to study at the College of William and Mary and Syracuse, in New York, before throwing herself into a local television career first in Maryland, then in New York.
The 35-year-old moved to Washington D.C. in 2016 for CBS, and is now a permanent White House correspondent.
An Edward R. Murrow Award-winner, the clash with Trump was not her first; in 2018, at the height of the storm over the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, he told her to ‘sit down’ and ‘stop interrupting’ when she pressed him to answer her question.
She married her husband, Luther Lowe, a Washington D.C.-based executive with Yelp, in California two years ago in a ceremony performed by Jim Obergefell, whose fight for recognition of same sex-marriage led to the Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage.
‘We cut it off. People were amazed. These gentlemen, everybody was amazed that I did it. We had 21 people in the room, everybody was against it but me. Dr. Fauci said, had I not done that perhaps tens of thousands and maybe much more than that would have died,’ the president continued. ‘I was very early. Very, very early.’
Trump then pointed to a tweet that he had sent out earlier Sunday quoting Fox News Channels Bret Baier who wrote that at the February 19 Democratic debate in Las Vegas the coronavirus didn’t come up once.
‘It wasn’t even mentioned – the Democrats,’ Trump said.
‘And you’re the president, sir. And you didn’t warn people that it was spreading so quickly,’ Jiang shot back. ‘And, by the way, when you issued the ban, the virus was already here.’
Trump then asked the CBS News reporter if she knew how many cases were in the United States when he implemented the China ban. ‘Do you know the number?’ he asked. ‘Tell me. ‘
‘But did you know that it was going to spread and become a pandemic?’ Jiang answered instead.
The president said she needed to do her research.
‘I did my research,’ Jiang said. ‘On the 23rd of March you said you knew this was going to be a pandemic, well before the [World Health Organization.] So did you know it was going to spread?’
Trump said that he ‘did know it.’
‘All – anybody knew it. Just – are you ready? How many cases were in the United States when I did my ban? How many people had died in the United States?’ Trump continued to ask.
When Jiang took that to mean that he didn’t think it was going to spread, Trump laid into her.
‘Keep your voice down, please,’ he told her ‘Keep your voice down.’
In an interview with The New York Post last week, Trump said neither Jiang nor her colleague Paula Reid were a ‘Donna Reed.’
‘It wasn’t Donna Reed, I can tell you that,’ Trump said, referring to the the mom in an eponymous family TV sitcom of the ’50s and ’60s.
President Trump told a female reporter on Sunday to ‘keep your voice down’ and ‘just relax’ when she asked him why he didn’t sound the alarm sooner that the coronavirus was spreading like wildfire
CBS News’ Weijia Jiang pointed to the president’s comments – that he was ‘angry’ that the U.S. wasn’t informed sooner about coronavirus – when asking why he didn’t warn the American people sooner about the pandemic
Jiang detailed the encounter on Twitter Sunday, commenting that the president had told her to ‘relax’
In late April, President Trump abruptly cut off one of his coronavirus press briefings without taking any questions from the press shortly after Collins refused to move to the back of the room.
Collins said she was asked by White House officials to swap seats with another reporter several rows behind her, minutes before Trump’s briefing on Friday afternoon.
Reporters’ seats are assigned in advance through the White House Correspondents Association, and major TV networks, such as CNN, have front row seats.
Collins cited the WHCA guidelines and refused to switch seats with Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson, who was sitting in the sixth row and who also refused to move. A White House official then suggested the Secret Service would get involved if they didn’t swap seats, although no action was taken.
Moments later, Trump entered the room for the briefing but cut it short after 22 minutes, failing to take any questions from the press.
The day before that briefing, Trump had a spat with Collins as he addressed a question from another reporter about Kim Jong Un’s health status, as reports circulated the North Korean dictator was near death.
When Collins tried to follow up with her own question, Trump cut her off, saying: ‘No, that’s enough. The problem is, you don’t write the truth.’
Collins tried to interject, but Trump said: ‘No, not CNN. I told you, CNN is fake news. Don’t talk to me.’
It seems Thursday’s altercation played into Friday’s incident when the White House tried to move Collins to the back of the room.
However, the White House does not control press seating.
It is handled by the WHCA and is seating is determined by the news outlet’s size.
Kaitlan Collins, CNN’s White House Correspondent, said she was asked by White House officials to swap seats with another reporter several rows back minutes before Trump’s briefing on Friday afternoon
Kaitlin Collins, circled, had a front row seat at that April 24 briefing
Trump left the briefing after 22 minutes, refusing to take questions from the media