Reporters reacted strongly Monday after White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said she was the latest in the administration to test positive for COVID-19. One CBS News reporter, Ben Tracy, even said he felt “safer” when he was reporting from North Korea than he does at the White House now.
CNN’s Jim Acosta pointed out that when McEnany spoke to journalists Sunday, she wasn’t wearing a mask.
Kaitlan Collins, who also covers the White House for CNN, tweeted that her network had confirmed Monday that two of McEnany’s deputies in the press department had also tested positive. On air, Collins said that McEnany’s diagnosis “is a sign of how the White House thinks that the rules do not apply to them.”
Playboy’s Brian Karem was quick to note that he told McEnany to wear a mask way back in July. Meanwhile, the Daily Beast’s Matt Wilstein resurfaced a clip of McEnany insisting in February that Americans “will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here.”
McEnany made her diagnosis announcement earlier Monday: “After testing negatively consistently, including every day since Thursday, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms.”
She added, “No reporters, producers or members of the press are listed as close contacts by the White House Medical Unit. Moreover, I definitively had no knowledge of Hope Hicks’ diagnosis prior to holding a White House press briefing on Thursday.”
Her diagnosis comes days after President Donald Trump announced he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the virus. President Trump was admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center Friday afternoon and has not yet been discharged.
A number of prominent Republicans tested positive before and after Trump announced his own diagnosis last week.
Other Republicans who have tested positive in the past few days include former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis, former presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway and top aide Hope Hicks.