The infections seem to be rattling the President, who’s eager to see the country reopen. In conversations this weekend, Trump has expressed concern that aides contracting coronavirus would undercut his message that the outbreak is waning and states should begin reopening, according to a person who spoke to him.
He’s expressed frustration at the positive tests in the West Wing and has asked why his valets weren’t ordered to wear masks before this week, according to the person. He’s told people he doesn’t want to be near anyone who hasn’t been tested and has bristled when coming into contact with some people at the White House, according to the person who spoke to the President.
“We’ve all been exposing ourselves to risks, under the best guidance we could possibly have to keep us safe, but we’re willing to take that chance because we love our country,” Hassett said. “There are things that have to happen in the West Wing even if the building is a little old and under-ventilated.”
Hassett said he has been tested frequently, as recently as Saturday, and when asked why so many White House officials, including Trump, are so often seen not wearing masks, he said he had one in his pocket.
“The mask issue is a significant one, but recall that to get in with the President, that you have to test negative,” he said. “There’s — according to what the doctors tell me — not a lot of evidence that you can pass the virus, that you have enough viral load to pass it if you test negative. I think it’s sound medical judgment that is urging people to be that way. And it’s not my judgment but that’s what I’ve been told.”
When he agreed to leave the private sector and rejoin the administration in March, Hassett said he was cognizant of the risks, but returned to build a giant data operation to help track ventilators and other medical supplies to fight the pandemic.
“I knew when I was going back in that I would be taking risks, that I would be safer sitting at home in my house than going into a West Wing — that with even all the testing in the world and the best medical team on Earth — it’s a relatively cramped place,” he said.