White House chief of staff Mark Meadows refuses to 'talk through a mask' and walks away from reporters on Capitol Hill without taking any questions
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows leaves the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Candidate Amy Coney Barrett on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on October 12, 2020. Barrett was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy held by Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows declined to wear a mask when addressing reporters on Capitol Hill on Monday.
He went away without answering any questions and said, "I will not speak through a mask."
Journalists covering Capitol Hill lawmakers urge Congressmen to improve access to coronavirus testing and contact tracking, and to wear masks when talking to media representatives.
But Meadows, like President Donald Trump and others who work in the White House, continue to violate public health guidelines despite the world's worst COVID-19 outbreak.
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President Donald Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows refused to wear his mask when he addressed reporters on Capitol Hill Monday and walked away without question.
During the encounter, a CNN congressional reporter asked Kristin Wilson, Meadows to keep his face covered while he spoke, according to Seung Min Kim, Washington Post reporter. But Meadows pulled a microphone-equipped podium closer and took off his mask to the journalists' concern.
"Well, I'm more than 10 feet away," he said.
Seconds later, Meadows put his mask back on and walked away from the group.
"I'm not going to speak through a mask," he said.
This incident occurred on the first day of the Senate Justice Committee hearings of Judge Amy Coney Barrett at the Trump Supreme Court.
Health experts have found that the coronavirus is known to travel several feet in the air, especially indoors, and that wearing masks is one of the effective ways to prevent transmission. The United States has already reported more than 7.7 million cases and more than 214,000 deaths, based on data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Meadows' refusal comes because representatives of journalists covering Capitol Hill lawmakers urge Congressmen to allow more access to testing and tracing and public health guidelines, including the wearing of masks, when dealing with media officials to follow.
That request came in response to an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in the White House, with multiple cases related to Barrett's nomination ceremony in the Rose Garden on September 26th. In the days that followed, the President, First Lady, a handful of Senators, and several White House aides tested positive for the disease.
Since then, several lawmakers have worn face covers while speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, including House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, who began wearing one during her weekly press conferences.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also signaled last week that he had not been to the White House in two months, suggesting that the Trump administration's coronavirus prevention efforts were sloppy.
"My impression was that their approach was different from mine, and I insisted that we wear a mask in the Senate and practice social distancing," McConnell said at an event in Kentucky.
But Meadows' actions on Monday follow the pattern of White House neglect when it comes to security protocols amid the pandemic.
The first family broke CDC guidelines and rules for the first presidential debate on Sept. 29 by refusing to wear face masks. Although Trump was later infected with COVID-19 and ended up in the hospital, he did not mandate the use of face masks in the west wing.
Hours after Trump tested positive on October 2, Meadows refused to wear a mask during a press conference, claiming he tested negative while "fully" expecting other White House employees to contract coronavirus.
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