At least nine White House employees have now tested positive for the virus, including senior adviser Stephen Miller, who got his result late Tuesday, a senior administration official said. Trump’s aides, allies and advisers find themselves grappling with how to implement more safety measures and precautions without displeasing their boss, who continues to say — as he did in a tweet Monday — “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”
In a video he recorded maskless from the White House south balcony Monday night, the president also falsely claimed that perhaps he was “immune” to the virus, said he felt “better than 20 years ago” and urged the public to “get out there.”
The result is a bifurcated culture in Trump’s White House and broader orbit, with informal and halting steps toward more rigorous health measures often undermined or upended by the president.
His team, for instance, tried to puzzle out if there was a way for him to safely return to the Oval Office on Tuesday but ultimately nixed the request, said two people familiar with the discussions, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal internal deliberations.
“The White House really isn’t doing anything you’re supposed to be doing in these situations,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist on the faculty of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.
Rasmussen added that while she agreed with Trump’s call not succumb to fear, “we also shouldn’t not take the virus seriously just because President Trump says he feels better and is flying around on Marine One and standing on the balcony like Evita.”
On Monday, the White House Management Office sent out an email to senior staff who routinely interact with Trump, aimed at protecting both the president and his advisers. The memo, obtained