White House isn’t contact tracing its potential super spreader Rose Garden ceremony

Gallery: Trump’s COVID-19 outbreak: Who got infected? (

a group of people standing in front of a crowd

© Provided by The Independent

At least 11 people  have tested positive for coronavirus since attending a Rose Garden ceremony on 26 September to celebrate the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, including the president, but the White House is not contact tracing the event, according to the New York Times

Instead, the White House has confined its tracing efforts to those who came into close contact with the president in the two days before his diagnosis last Thursday. That leaves out the numerous people who attended  the ceremony at the White House, many of whom weren’t wearing masks  or social distancing.  The tracing effort has also been conducted largely by email, rather than with the rigorous phone interviews public health departments usually use.

Donald Trump unveils Supreme Court pick Amy Coney Barrett



An internal Centres for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) email the New York Times viewed shows a team of agency scientists prepared to go to Washington and assist with tracing after the president’s positive diagnosis, but a call for their help never came.  

Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said a “robust contact tracing programme” is in place, including full contact tracing for a New Jersey fundraiser Mr Trump held just before he tested positive, and that these efforts continue with the help of “CDC integration”. Two senior CDC scientists told the paper they weren’t aware of the role Mr Deere was describing for the public health watchdog.

All together, 15 members of Mr Trump’s inner circle, including the First Lady, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and senior adviser Hope Hicks, have tested positive.

The president left Walter Reed Medical Centre on Monday and tweeted, “Don’t be afraid of Covid.”

How the White House is trying to convince America that Trump’s illness isn’t a big deal

In case that point was somehow lost on observers, campaign aides like Jason Miller made it more explicitly.

The tacit message of the tweet: Even the virus can’t keep this guy down.

But Miller’s presentation of what’s shown is obviously questionable. For one thing, while he boasts that Trump didn’t need a teleprompter, the president can be seen looking down at the sheet of paper in front of him, almost certainly to consult notes about what he plans to say.

This is not a big deal, of course, and, technically, it doesn’t conflict with Miller’s representation that no teleprompter was used. But that Miller pointedly uses this as a point of contrast with former vice president Joe Biden, Trump’s opponent in the upcoming election, is ironic. After all, Trump’s campaign has repeatedly criticized Biden’s use of written notes or alleged that he was referring to notes as he gave public comments. (Here’s an example from a Biden television appearance and one centered on his invitation to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) to join his ticket.)

Then there is Miller’s claim that this was “one take” — meaning that it is presented as Trump offered it, without editing. Shortly after the video was published, a number of professional video editors noted that this probably wasn’t true; that, after Trump mentions the use of therapeutics, he appears to begin to cough — but not complete the cough.

You can see it in the animation here. About halfway through, his shoulders hunch. You’ll also notice that when the animation loops, the position of the cabinets behind him shifts, despite this apparently being shot from a mounted camera. In other words, the camera was probably moved.

Those shifts are evidence to experts of the use of Adobe Premiere’s “fluid morph” tool, a nifty bit of

The White House medical team isn’t giving straight answers on President Trump’s health

The White House physician, surrounded by a group of other doctors, emerged just before noon on Saturday from Walter Reed medical center to give a sunny update on President Donald Trump’s condition after his positive Covid-19 diagnosis.

a group of people posing for the camera: White House physician Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley giving an update to the press about President Donald Trump's health as he is being treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for Covid-19 on October 3, 2020.

© Pool
White House physician Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley giving an update to the press about President Donald Trump’s health as he is being treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for Covid-19 on October 3, 2020.

“This morning the President is doing very well,” said Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley, adding: “The President is fever-free for over 24 hours.”

Roughly half an hour after that rosy assessment, came this from a “source familiar with the President’s health” speaking to the print and TV pool reporters, “The President’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We are still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”

Uh, what? It’s not hard to reconcile what Conley said about Trump’s current condition with what the “source familiar with the President’s health” said mere minutes later. It’s impossible to reconcile the two statements.

And the net result is that the public has no real idea what condition Trump is actually in. Does he have a very mild case of the virus as spokespeople and allies — and Conley — have suggested since we learned he was positive for coronavirus early Friday morning? And that he was taken to the hospital out of an abundance of caution? Or are there real concerns that Trump’s condition is far more serious, as the use of an experimental Regeneron polyclonal antibody cocktail — not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration — and the eerie background quote suggest?

There’s simply

U.S. Adversaries Are Exploiting Trump’s Illness and the White House Isn’t Helping

As Washington followed the rapid-fire news Friday of President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis and his eventual hospitalization at Walter Reed Medical Center, national security and disinformation analysts watched as American adversaries sought to exploit the unfolding situation to their advantage.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie smiling and looking at the camera: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on his way to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on September 30, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

© Drew Angerer—Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on his way to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on September 30, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Trump’s diagnosis was announced around 1 a.m. Friday morning with a tweet from his personal account. Over the following hours, the White House put out piecemeal statements that gradually became more concerning. Prior Administrations facing uncertainty at the top of America’s government have favored full briefings for the media by subject matter experts and advisors. Trump’s White House opted instead for sporadic announcements through non-traditional media channels over the course of the day which only fueled speculation.

This approach created a significant opening for misinformation by foreign adversaries and bad actors at home, analysts say. “What the White House has been sharing with us has been lacking in detail and fragmented, and whenever there is a gap in the information that’s shared there are conspiracy theories and misinformation,” says Samuel Woolley, who leads propaganda research at the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin. “There’s a massive credibility gap.”

This distrust was exacerbated as details emerged that Trump had gone ahead with campaign events on Thursday despite knowing that his close aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for the virus. Trump traveled to several events in New Jersey after her diagnosis, which he downplayed in a television interview. Adversaries were quick to seize on the series of conflicting messages. “The propaganda ecosystem is going into overdrive,” Woolley says. “We should expect it to

White House says there isn’t ‘anything to clarify’ on Proud Boys

  • The White House is making no effort to spin or clear up President Donald Trump’s comments on the Proud Boys during Tuesday night’s debate.
  • In an interview on Fox News, White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah was pressed by host Sandra Smith on what Trump meant by “stand by.”
  • “I don’t think that there’s anything to clarify,” Farah said.
  • Shortly after Trump said, “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” the far-right extremist group began using it as a recruiting tool.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Despite substantial blowback and calls from Republicans for President Donald Trump to clear up his comments on the Proud Boys hate group during Tuesday night’s debate, the White House is doubling down.

Fox News host Sandra Smith pressed White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah on the issue Wednesday.

“The president saying, ‘Proud Boys, stand back and stand by’ — does the White House or the president want to clarify or explain what he meant by that?” Smith asked. “Because they’re celebrating it, the group.”

“I don’t think there’s anything to clarify,” Farah replied. “He’s told them to stand back.”

She added: “This president has surged federal resources when violent crime warrants it in cities. He is leading. He doesn’t need any sort of vigilante-ism.”

Following the usual line of attack from Trump, Farah pivoted to blaming Democrats and the left for violence in cities by not accepting the president’s calls for federal law enforcement to go in and use more force than local officials.

“What we’ve called for is Democrat mayors and Democrat governors to call up the resources we’re prepared to make available,” she said.

Meanwhile, Kate Bedingfield, the communications director for former Vice President Joe Biden, told a Daily Beast reporter that Trump squandered