Multiple high-ranking figures in the Trump administration have now tested positive for the Coronavirus, including Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller and a member of the military who serves as a personal valet for the president. The new cases have prompted top public health officials including Dr. Anthony Fauci and the heads of the CDC and FDA to isolate themselves for two weeks in case they contracted the virus and could end up unwittingly spreading it to others. During an appearance on CNN this weekend, White House correspondent Kristin Holmes explained that staffers in the White House have been left “scared” by the developments, which indicate that there’s a danger from the Coronavirus even inside the White House.
‘This is clearly not the narrative that the White House wants to have right now. Remember just last week, President Trump broke his self-isolation and went to Arizona. That trip was meant to really signal that the country was ready to reopen; we’ve seen states slowly working to reopen their different businesses. We know people are going back to work and that’s what the White House wanted to be talking about.’
Indeed, the president and his allies have been sticking to the idea that the U.S. economy is ready to come roaring back following the economic slowdown enacted by the social distancing demands that have been instituted in an attempt to stem the spread of the Coronavirus. Reality is far more complicated, however. Although the scope of the news could get lost in the shuffle, tens of thousands of new Coronavirus cases have been reported in the United States every single day for over a month, and on every one of those days, around 1,500 Americans or more have died from the same virus.
Holmes noted, discussing the situation at the White House:
‘Now the narrative is completely different, it is people are scared, and it’s in the place where it’s essentially the safest place in the country arguably. People are still getting sick here. What does that say? And what does it say if three of the top doctors on the front line fighting this virus are now quarantining themselves for 14 days? Why? Because they came into contact with someone who tested positive. Where? Here at the White House. So, it’s clearly a shift in narrative, what we are talking about.’
Holmes went on to discuss how a memo went out to White House staffers after Pence’s press secretary’s positive Coronavirus test outlining steps that the Trump team would be taking to stem the virus’s spread, including sharpened cleaning procedures and a focus on getting staffers to work from home if possible. Throughout government, many officials have already been relying on working from home, although the Senate did return last week and the House seems slated to do so soon.
However, as long as the Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc across the United States, there will, quite simply, be no grand economic recovery that Trump seems so desperate to enact.