clearn.png
Monday October 19th, 2020 8:37PM

Trump's return means more anxiety for White House reporters

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump's return to the White House to recover from the coronavirus seems certain to raise the already heightened anxiety level of the journalists assigned to follow him.

Three reporters have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days while covering a White House described as lax, at best, in following basic safety advice like wearing masks. Discomfort only increased Monday with news that press secretary Kayleigh McEnany had tested positive.

The image of Trump standing on a balcony and removing his mask after a helicopter dropped him off Monday evening, then turning to enter the White House maskless, could hardly be reassuring to people who work there.

After McEnany's announcement Monday, Fox News chief White House correspondent John Roberts spent part of his afternoon waiting outside an urgent care center for his own test. He had attended McEnany's briefing last Thursday. She didn't wear a mask, and neither did one of her assistants who later tested positive, and Roberts sat near both of them. He tested negative.

He called it an inconvenience, but stronger emotions were spreading. American Urban Radio Networks correspondent April Ryan said she found it infuriating that Trump and his team had risked the health of her colleagues. CNN's Kaitlan Collins said it was “irresponsible, at best.”

“It’s frustrating,” said Jonathan Karl, ABC News White House correspondent. “Frankly, it makes you angry.”

Trump takes the health and safety of those who work for and cover him very seriously, spokesman Judd Deere said. The White House works to incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices to limit COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible on the grounds and when the president is traveling, he said.

Yet Trump clearly dislikes masks, and it is a message that has filtered down through much of his staff.

The White House Correspondents Association has placed signs on the door to the press briefing room saying that masks are required for admittance.

“The only people who have habitually not followed that rule have been that White House staff,” Karl said.

When asked why, staffers generally say they don't wear a mask because they tested negative that day, said CBS News correspondent Weijia Jiang. But doctors have made clear that a negative test doesn't mean you don't have COVID-19 or aren't contagious, “so it seems like covering their face is a simple way to protect people,” she said.

Michael D. Shear of The New York Times is the only reporter to reveal his positive test. Shear can't say for sure where he contracted the virus, but he covered Trump's rally in Pennsylvania on Sept. 26 and rode back on Air Force One, where the president spoke to reporters without a mask.

“What's frustrating is when you know the risks can be mitigated if they took it more seriously,” he said Monday. Shear took a coronavirus test late Thursday and found he was positive the next morning; his wife is positive, too.

No one in the White House has criticized him for wearing a mask, but there have been times when people told him “I can't hear you.”

“My feeling is you just talk louder at that point,” he said. “I'm not going to take my mask off.”

Shear said he's surprised that no one at the White House has reached out to him for contact tracing.

Following the the positive tests for Shear and two others, the WHCA recommended remote work for all reporters who are not part of the day's press pool and who don't have an enclosed work space.

The 13-member press pool, with a rotating cast of electronic and print journalists, is responsible for following the president when he leaves the White House; the WHCA objected Sunday when the pool wasn't alerted to Trump's drive-by of supporters outside his hospital.

The White House has generally been responsive to the WHCA's safety concerns for the pool, said Zeke Miller, the association's president and an Associated Press reporter. For example, the White House arranged to increase the buffer zone between the audience at Trump rallies and journalists.

The AP has its own rotation system so it has only one reporter at the White House while others work at home. If he comes into contact with someone who has tested positive, Miller said he's prepared to go to a hotel and not home to his family, although he hasn't had to do that yet.

The atmosphere is markedly different at the Capitol, said Andrew Desiderio, who covers the Senate for Politico. With the exception of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, virtually all staff and senators wear masks, he said. They follow the lead of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, he said.

As a result, Desiderio isn't worried about the seven-minute interview he conducted last week with Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson days before Johnson revealed a positive COVID test. Both men wore masks and kept their distance, he said.

But at the White House, Ryan said she is concerned for fellow reporters. With underlying health conditions, she's been doing her job from home since March.

“My colleagues, I give them all props,” she said. “But I didn't sign up to die for this, especially for someone who's always saying that we're the enemy.”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Entertainment, AP Online TV News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump's return means more anxiety for White House reporters
President Donald Trump's return to the White House to continue his recovery from the coronavirus seems certain to increase the anxiety level for journalists
12:05AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Rodgers, Tonyan lead Packers to 30-16 victory over Falcons
Aaron Rodgers connected with tight end Robert Tonyan on three of his four touchdown passes as the Green Bay Packers remained unbeaten with a 30-16 victory over the winless Atlanta Falcons
12:05AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Stanton, Yankees power way to 9-3 win against Rays in opener
Giancarlo Stanton hit a grand slam in the ninth inning for New York’s fourth home run of the game, and the Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 9-3 in their AL Division Series opener at Petco Park
12:00AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
DC government unable to connect with White House on outbreak
Officials with the Washington, D
10:46PM ( 1 hour ago )
2 justices slam court's 2015 decision in gay marriage case
The Supreme Court has opened its new term with a jolt from two conservative justices on the question of same-sex marriage
10:42PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump, still infectious, back at White House — without mask
President Donald Trump has staged a dramatic return to the White House after leaving the military hospital where he has been receiving an unprecedented level of care for COVID-19
10:34PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Pence takes lead role in campaign with Trump travel stopped
With President Donald Trump ill with COVID-19, Vice President Mike Pence is taking the lead role in campaigning, starting a swing through key states to bolster the president’s chance for reelection
7:18PM ( 4 hours ago )
Trump's doctor leans on health privacy law to duck questions
President Donald Trump’s doctor is leaning on a federal health privacy law to duck certain questions about the president’s treatment for COVID-19 and his condition
7:14PM ( 5 hours ago )
CEOs of 3 tech giants to testify at Oct. 28 Senate hearing
The CEOs of technology giants Facebook, Google and Twitter are expected to testify for an Oct. 28 Senate hearing on tech companies’ control over hate speech and misinformation on their platforms
5:01PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
New this week: Patty Smyth, 'The Right Stuff' and 'Time'
This week’s new entertainment releases include Patty Smyth's first album of original material in nearly three decades, as well as a third album from Brothers Osborne
3:58PM ( 8 hours ago )
Boston, Leipzig orchestras extend Andris Nelsons' contracts
Conductor Andris Nelsons has reached agreement on contract extensions with both the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Gewandhausorchester of Leipzig, Germany
3:50PM ( 8 hours ago )
Hundreds of Regal, Cineworld movie theaters to close
Shares in the company that owns the Regal, Cineworld and Picturehouse cinemas in the U.S. and Britain have fallen as much as 58% after the announcement that it will temporarily close its venues
2:30PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
TV's 'Warrior' latest proof that Bruce Lee still holds sway
Even nearly 50 years after his death, Bruce Lee can still make ripples
11:15PM ( 3 days ago )
Del Harris receives 2020's Chuck Daly achievement award
Del Harris was a small-college player and once those days were over his life’s goal was to be a successful small-college coach
8:28PM ( 3 days ago )
Bereft of scripted shows, opening week ratings down for TV
With the coronavirus having thrown a halt to the production of most dramas and comedies, television ratings for the first week of the fall season were way down compared to last year
5:26PM ( 6 days ago )
AP Online TV News
Rodgers, Tonyan lead Packers to 30-16 victory over Falcons
Aaron Rodgers connected with tight end Robert Tonyan on three of his four touchdown passes as the Green Bay Packers remained unbeaten with a 30-16 victory over the winless Atlanta Falcons
12:05AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Stanton, Yankees power way to 9-3 win against Rays in opener
Giancarlo Stanton hit a grand slam in the ninth inning for New York’s fourth home run of the game, and the Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 9-3 in their AL Division Series opener at Petco Park
12:00AM ( 17 minutes ago )
LEADING OFF: García youngest Yankees postseason starter
Deivi García is set to become the youngest Yankees pitcher to make a postseason start Tuesday night in Game 2 of the AL Division Series against rival Tampa Bay
11:49PM ( 27 minutes ago )
Thai protesters spark interest in 1976 university massacre
Anti-government protests challenging the institutions of Thailand’s traditional ruling class are not just prompting intense debate about the country's future
11:46PM ( 30 minutes ago )
US, Australia, India, Japan to discuss China's growing power
 U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, said they will take leadership in a regional initiative called “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” aimed at countering China’s growing assertiveness
11:40PM ( 37 minutes ago )