As he encouraged the country to “reopen,” President Donald Trump confronted cases of the coronavirus in the White House itself on Monday, spotlighting the challenge he faces in instilling confidence in a nation still reeling from the pandemic.
In a potent new symbol of the risk, Trump addressed a Rose Garden audience filled with mask-wearing administration officials. That was after two known cases of COVID-19 among staffers in one of the most-protected complexes in America sent three of the nation’s top medical experts into quarantine and Vice-President Mike Pence into “self-isolation.”
Trump himself, not wearing a mask, was emphasizing to the American people the steps being taken to ensure their safety — in hopes that will coax them to resume normal activities.
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At one point Monday, he declared “We have met the moment, and we have prevailed.” Trump later clarified he was only referring to `prevailing’ in connection to testing for the virus. Yet that contention, too, is widely challenged.
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His upbeat message in the sunny White House Rose Garden was undercut by the sight of all the officials in face masks, a result of the positive cases at the White House itself and new protective measures implemented to keep Trump safe.