White House chief of staff Mark Meadows refused to wear his face mask while speaking to reporters Monday outside the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
Meadows has spent several days in close proximity to President Donald Trump, who is reportedly also refusing to wear a mask in the White House even though he was diagnosed with COVID-19 just over 10 days ago.
Meadows’ exposure to Trump since the president was discharged from Walter Reed hospital could make him a strong candidate for contracting COVID-19 and possibly being infectious. Meadows last tested negative for the coronavirus a week ago, NBC News reported.
Before speaking to journalists in the hallway during a break in the hearing, Meadows pulled a microphone stand away from them — and removed his face mask. When CNN reporter Kristin Wilson objected, Meadows replied: “I’m more than 10 feet away,”
Then he immediately left in a huff back to the hearing room, announcing: “I’m not going to talk through a mask.”
At the hearing, Meadows and White House counsel Pat Cipplone sat in the front row — wearing masks.
Meadows apparently missed the alert last week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the coronavirus can be spread through aerosols, which “can linger in the air for minutes to hours” and travel farther than six feet, especially indoors.
The record on coronavirus prevention at the White House is abysmal.
Three White House reporters have tested positive for COVID-19 since the White House superspreader event at the Rose Garden on Sept. 26 when Trump announced Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Almost none of the 200-some guests there wore masks or maintained social distancing. Days later, the president, first lady Melania Trump and more than 35 other people linked to the event or to people attending tested positive for the coronavirus.
Meadows hosted his daughter’s large wedding in Georgia with some 70 guests at an indoor reception in May. Few guests wore masks, and the event flouted state regulations limiting crowds and requiring social distancing.
Critics on Twitter bashed Meadows’ dangerous behavior. Physicians noted that the Trump White House just doesn’t “get” aerosol transmission of COVID — or else refuses to acknowledge it.
A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus
- Stay up to date with our live blog as we cover the COVID-19 pandemic
- What you need to know about face masks right now
- How long are asymptomatic carriers contagious?
- Lost your job due to coronavirus? Here’s what you need to know.
- How to switch off from work when home is your office
- 8 sleep tips if coronavirus anxiety is keeping you up at night
- How long does coronavirus live in the air?
- The HuffPost guide to working from home
- What coronavirus questions are on your mind right now? We want to help you find answers.
- Everyone deserves accurate information about COVID-19. Support journalism without a paywall — and keep it free for everyone — by becoming a HuffPost member today