Top Democrats accuse White House of withholding information on COVID-19 outbreak
Top Senate Democrats are accusing the White House of “deliberately” withholding information about a coronavirus outbreak after a Rose Garden event, which the lawmakers called a “super spreader.”
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), the No. 3 Democrat and ranking member of the health committee, sent a letter to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows saying the White House had “conducted itself in a secretive manner and shown a complete lack of regard for public health and safety” after President Trump and top staffers tested positive for COVID-19.
“The opaque and secretive handling of information related to these events constitutes an obvious threat to public health and is unacceptable in a free nation whose elected leaders must be transparent with and accountable to the American people,” they added to Meadows.
Schumer and Murray are asking Meadows to detail what, if any, contact tracing the White House has done in connection to several individuals who tested positive for the coronavirus after attending the Rose Garden event late last month where Trump announced Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination.
They are also asking for Meadows to provide “complete transparency” on the timeline of the outbreak and what guidance has been given to White House staff. The White House has refused to say when Trump last tested negative.
Trump announced in the middle of the night Thursday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, and he spent the weekend in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a move the White House has said was done out of an abundance of caution.
But the president’s medical team and the White House have refused to provide key details on the timeline of his illness.
White House physician Sean Conley told reporters Monday that Trump’s symptoms have continued to improve and that he has met or exceeded all discharge criteria. The president returned to the White House on Monday evening but Conley acknowledged that Trump may not yet be “out of the woods,” underscoring the degree of uncertainty surrounding his condition.
Conley also refused to answer multiple questions about when Trump last tested negative for the virus, something White House officials have similarly declined to share in recent days.