'He's the one that is making them sick': Trump's suggestion that he got infected from Gold Star families faces fierce backlash from Democrats

President Donald Trump speaks to Air Force personnel during an event at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland on September 15, 2017. Alex Wong / Getty Images
President Donald Trump suggested infecting the coronavirus at a White House meeting with Gold Star families.
Democratic lawmakers who have served in the military have resented Trump's statements shifting the White House's coronavirus problems to the armed forces and law enforcement agencies.
"The president controls what happens in the White House," Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth told Insider. "So if he says that he cannot control these events - and those around him - because people come up to him to hug him, it shows failure on their part."
"Shifting blame is a given for Donald Trump when the reality is that he is solely responsible," Rep. Seth Moulton told Insider. "He's decided to ignore science and hold massive rallies. He's decided to run the White House as if the virus doesn't exist."
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Six days after President Donald Trump suggested that a White House employee infect the coronavirus from members of the military and police officers, the commander in chief said he "assumed there would be a chance" that he was also infected with the virus would infect if he attended a ceremony honoring the fallen US troops.
"I meet a lot of people. I have to. I'm the country's president," Trump said during a Fox Business interview on Thursday morning. "I can't hang out in a basement so I figured there was a chance I could catch it."
"Sometimes I'm in groups, like Gold Star families," Trump added. "I've met with Gold Star families. I didn't want to cancel that."
Trump and other senior officials met with family members of the war dead known as the Gold Star families on Sept. 27. The event, hosted by a charity, was also attended by Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Coast Guard Adm. Charles Ray.
"Sometimes they come an inch from my face," added Trump. "They want to hug me and they want to kiss me and they do, and honestly, I'm not telling them to retire. I don't, but I said it is like that, you know, it's obvious dangerous. It's a dangerous thing. "
The White House deployed guests in close proximity and very few of them wore face masks, including the vice president who heads the coronavirus task force.
Trump later became Adm. Ray tested positive for COVID-19. Many of the military leaders, including the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Mark Milley, who attended the ceremony in the East Room, have since quarantined.
U.S. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett speaks after President Donald Trump announced she will be his candidate for the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House on September 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.
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Democratic lawmakers who served in the military have resented Trump's statements shifting the White House's coronavirus problems to the armed forces and law enforcement agencies.
"The president controls what happens in the White House," Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth told Insider. "So if he says that he cannot control these events - and those around him - because people come up to him to hug him, it shows failure on their part."
"And frankly, it is shameful that he should blame the military and police for his COVID-19 diagnosis," added Duckworth, a former US Army helicopter pilot. "It's all his own fault for not wearing masks."
Duckworth also noted that the day before the Gold Star event, Trump announced his appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court in front of a packed and largely maskless crowd in the White House garden. Another part was kept in the basement of the White House.
Trump aside, at least nine officials who attended Judge Coney's event tested positive for the coronavirus, including First Lady Melania Trump; White House Advisor Kellyanne Conway; and Republican Sens. Mike Lee and Thom Tillis. The event in the rose garden is suspected of being a super spreader event.
"He managed to turn the White House rose garden into a super-spreader event," Duckworth said, referring to Trump. "And it's pretty shameful, really, because the behavior he's modeling isn't helping us fight this pandemic."
President Donald Trump speaks to Gold Star families in the East Room of the White House on September 27, 2020. White House
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Meanwhile, the president of the foundation that hosted the Gold Star event said that all of the families in attendance tested negative prior to the event and that they "all do well and show no symptoms" according to CNN.
Massachusetts Democratic MP Seth Moulton, a retired Marine Corps infantry officer, told Insider he wasn't surprised the president was distracting from other public events like the Rose Garden.
"Shifting the blame is a given for Donald Trump when the reality is that he is solely responsible," said Moulton. "He decided to ignore science and hold massive rallies. He decided to run the White House as if the virus didn't exist.
"Our commander-in-chief opened the door and let her into the White House for his reckless behavior," he added.
Both Duckworth and Moulton expressed concern about intelligence agents who were in close proximity to the President after his diagnosis. Former intelligence agents previously told Insiders that Trump's drive from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center while he was infected was "reprehensible".
Two Secret Service agents wearing personal protective equipment were also in the vehicle with Trump.
"He's the one who makes her sick. It's not an enemy," said Duckworth, referring to the photo as a "campaign video." "It's not someone outside the White House fence firing bullets - it's Mr. Trump in the vehicle with you spreading his own disease.
"The Secret Service is in such a difficult position right now that it has to be quarantined across the country because the president is treating them like they are expendable," said Moulton. "They not only protect the president or the administration, they serve our country."
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