Skip navigation

Daily Archives: May 9th, 2020

Politics has always been a dirty business but in all of the rhetoric and sniping the was always some semblance of class (this only appears in people who had it before politics). We now have an administration that is so inept that it could be named the “SNAFU” Presidency. This administrative leader sailed in on a ship of “entertainment politics and falsehoods”. Americans have been fed a bill of goods with this administration which has been propagated by a neer do well Congress who have their own agendas which do not include the people who voted them in time after time. We as citizens are dealing with a near (if not true) criminal enterprise with this administration. We the voters are the solution to bad governance and we do not need firearms to do it. The only armament required is  the truth.


Please Donate



TOTUS and his allies abetted by a “BOTCH” McConnell Senate has resolutely taken us down a path of continued fiscal irresponsibility. The “Conservative” Congress has shown that being conservative is great for sound bites and garnering votes while secret personal deals are made on the backs of the voters. We (the United States ) will be in debt for many years to come, the way out is a clear understanding of how government works and spend the tax dollars we  (voters) provide. The math of Government spending and taxing is not simple and often impossible to balance since the political parties can’t seem to get out of politicking mode long enough to do the job they are supposed to do. In simple terms: We (voters) pay taxes to supply the money to run the government. The people we elect are supposed to spend this money responsibly but politics get in the way since outside interests (lobbyists) push and sway the actions of these elected officials. Now with the CVID-19 pandemic it is worse. We’re at the mercy of a consummate liar and scam artist whos sole purpose his own image and edification. While TOTUS is stroking himself in any way that he can think of , the leadership falls to no one and anyone. The sole purpose of the current cabinet members appears to be doing the bidding of an uninformed leader no matter the  crucial effect on the citizens and their lives. It is easy to express the failures of this administration but the need is now to use the power of the ballot to put us on a corrective course with a new leader. Keep in mind that an informed voter, no matter your politics has more power than a party line voter.


Please Donate



Ross A. Lincoln and Phil Owen

The Wrap May 8, 2020, 10:24 PM CDT


Bill Maher Rips Democrats for Caring About Tara Reade Accusations: ‘Exactly What Republicans Want’

On Friday’s “Real Time,” Bill Maher waded into the accusation by former Senate staffer Tara Reade that Joe Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993. And in his view, whatever truth of the matter turns out to be, it’s not worth destroying Biden’s candidacy if it gives Donald Trump another four years.

“Just because Fox News is obsessed with the Biden sex assault allegations, it doesn’t mean the rest of us have to be,” Maher said, kicking off the final part of his weekly “New Rules” segment. “You may have noticed that Donald Trump has one move” accuse you of the very thing he’s guilty of. ‘Puppet. No puppet. You’re the puppet.’ Remember that one?”

In Maher’s view, Reade’s accusations essentially turn Trump’s infamous ‘grab them by the p—-y’ comments around and fling them at Biden. “Not that he even needs to say it,” Maher said about Trump. “The ‘liberal media’ and liberal party is doing it for him. Exactly what Republicans want. For us to go down the rabbit hole of ‘Joe Biden, sex monster.’ So now everybody’s investigating, but there is no fact-finding here.”

“It’s a ‘he said, she said, she said something else entirely.’,” Maher continued, referencing the apparent inconsistencies in Reade’s story. “Yes, Biden’s accuser, Tara Reade, has been contradicted by multiple people. Most importantly, Tara Reade. Just last year, she said of Biden, ‘I wasn’t scared of him, that he was going to take me in a room or anything. It wasn’t that kind of vibe.’”

“She suggested she had filed a sex harassment report. Now, she says she didn’t. She says she was fired by Biden’s office, but in deleted posts she said she left because quote, ‘I love Russia with all my heart… President Putin scares the power elite in America because he is a compassionate, caring, visionary leader. His obvious reverence for women, children and animals, and his ability with sports, is intoxicating to American women,’” Maher continued.

Maher then complained that “we’re letting this person changed the subject from ‘Donald Trump, lethal incompetent’ to ‘Joe Biden, sex monster’? She literally wrote a love letter to the murderer trying to keep Biden from the White House,” referencing the extrajudicial murders carried out on foreign soil linked to Putin.

“Yet the New York Times is calling for the DNC to establish a truth panel on this. Truth panel, huh? Which part? Putin’s reverence for animals, or how intoxicating he is to women? And Democrats are coalescing around the position that this accusation must be thoroughly vetted for the party to keep its credibility.”

“Well, you know credibility certainly is a problem for the Party on this issue,” Maher said, arguing that Democrats “‘woke’ themselves into a corner when they adopted #BelieveWomen as their slogan, when it should always have been #TakeAccusationsSeriously. Kirsten Gillibrand said of the Al Franken allegations, ‘The women who came forward felt it was sexual harassment, so it was.’”

“That was never tenable because believing everything doesn’t make you noble,” Maher continued. “It makes you gullible and leaves us with the world where Republicans don’t care about this stuff. So it’s just a unilateral weapon that is used only against Democrats. Trump rides the bus with Billy Bush, we throw Al Franken under it.”

Sidenote: While Gillibrand joined several other Democratic members of congress when she called on Franken to resign, he was never formally expelled. He was however accused by at least eight women of inappropriate behavior.

“You know Democrats are the party of choice,” Maher added. “We can choose not to completely f— ourselves over this. I know it’s a sex scandal and in normal times that’s what we do instead of issues, but there are actually some pretty big problems going on right now. I don’t know if you noticed but America has turned into a failed state that does a worse job keeping it citizens alive during a pandemic than Cambodia.”

“And to me, that’s a little more important than Tara Reade achieving closure. She says Biden attacked her, and he says he didn’t. Those are their positions. How about this for yours? Don’t know, never will, don’t care,” Maher said. “I care in the macro about women being attacked, of course, but on this one, I’m with Bogey, who said, ‘I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.’”

“Everybody says we need to do everything we can to defeat Trump. Yeah, except anything. Well, I’m no good at being noble either, but if in 1993 Joe Biden had grabbed my nuts in a corridor — and I was in Washington that year — and I had this knowledge, and revealing it could hurt the guy running against Trump, I’d save it for my memoirs,” Maher joked. “I’d like to think that I’d have a little more perspective.”

“We have a president who says drink bleach,” Maher noted, referring to when Trump literally suggested that people could inject disinfectant into their bodies to treat coronavirus. “Jeez, you waited 27 years. It couldn’t hold another few months? That’s what I would like to ask Ms. Reade. Why now? I’m not saying, ‘Why not 27 years ago?’ I understand. It can take victims years to come forward. I’m saying why not before Super Tuesday?”

“Why not last fall when we still had a dozen other candidates to choose from. Why wait until Biden is our only hope against Trump, and then take him down,” Maher concluded. “This story is gathering an importance it should not have. There is so much at stake in this next election. The entire world needs to be put back together like Humpty Dumpty. Why should one person’s victimhood trump everyone else’s?”

Read original story Bill Maher Rips Democrats for Caring About Tara Reade Accusations: ‘Exactly What Republicans Want’ At TheWrap


Please Donate

Apparently the administration is still self serving to our detriment MA

By JASON DEAREN, Associated Press

7 hrs ago

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The decision to shelve detailed advice from the nation’s top disease control experts for reopening communities during the coronavirus pandemic came from the highest levels of the White House, according to internal government emails obtained by The Associated Press.

The files also show that after the AP reported Thursday that the guidance document had been buried, the Trump administration ordered key parts of it to be fast-tracked for approval.

The trove of emails show the nation’s top public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spending weeks working on guidance to help the country deal with a public health emergency, only to see their work quashed by political appointees with little explanation.

The document, titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,” was researched and written to help faith leaders, business owners, educators and state and local officials as they begin to reopen. It included detailed “decision trees,” or flow charts aimed at helping local leaders navigate the difficult decision of whether to reopen or remain closed.

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said Friday that the documents had not been approved by CDC Director Robert Redfield. The new emails, however, show that Redfield cleared the guidance.

This new CDC guidance — a mix of advice already released along with newer information — had been approved and promoted by the highest levels of its leadership, including Redfield. Despite this, the administration shelved it on April 30.

As early as April 10, Redfield, who is also a member of the White House coronavirus task force, shared via email the guidance and decision trees with President Donald Trump’s inner circle, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, top adviser Kellyanne Conway and Joseph Grogan, assistant to the president for domestic policy. Also included were Dr. Deborah Birx, Dr. Anthony Fauci and other task force members.

Three days later, CDC’s upper management sent the more than 60-page report with attached flow charts to the White House Office of Management and Budget, a step usually taken only when agencies are seeking final White House approval for documents they have already cleared.

The 17-page version later released by The AP and other news outlets was only part of the actual document submitted by the CDC, and targeted specific facilities like bars and restaurants. The AP obtained a copy Friday of the full document. That version is a more universal series of phased guidelines, “Steps for All Americans in Every Community,” geared to advise communities as a whole on testing, contact tracing and other fundamental infection control measures.

On April 24, Redfield again emailed the guidance documents to Birx and Grogan, according to a copy viewed by The AP. Redfield asked Birx and Grogan for their review so that the CDC could post the guidance publicly. Attached to Redfield’s email were the guidance documents and the corresponding decision trees — including one for meat packing plants.

“We plan to post these to CDC’s website once approved. Peace, God bless r3,” the director wrote. (Redfield’s initials are R.R.R.)

Redfield’s emailed comments contradict the White House assertion Thursday that it had not yet approved the guidelines because the CDC’s own leadership had not yet given them the green light.

Two days later, on April 26, the CDC still had not received any word from the administration, according to the internal communications. Robert McGowan, the CDC chief of staff who was shepherding the guidance through the OMB, sent an email seeking an update. “We need them as soon as possible so that we can get them posted,” he wrote to Nancy Beck, an OMB staffer.

Beck said she was awaiting review by the White House Principals Committee, a group of top White House officials. “They need to be approved before they can move forward. WH principals are in touch with the task force so the task force should be aware of the status,” Beck wrote to McGowan.

The next day, April 27, Satya Thallam of the OMB sent the CDC a similar response: “The re-opening guidance and decision tree documents went to a West Wing principals committee on Sunday. We have not received word on specific timing for their considerations.

“However, I am passing along their message: they have given strict and explicit direction that these documents are not yet cleared and cannot go out as of right now — this includes related press statements or other communications that may preview content or timing of guidances.”

OMB spokeswoman Rachel Semmel said the office has reviewed hundreds of pages of pandemic-related documents.

“The initial submission to OMB is the start of the deliberative process, not the end, and everyone knows that,” Semmel said in an email.

According to the documents, CDC continued inquiring for days about the guidance that officials had hoped to post by Friday, May 1, the day Trump had targeted for reopening some businesses, according to a source who was granted anonymity because they were not permitted to speak to the press.

On April 30 the CDC’s documents were killed for good.

The agency had not heard any specific critiques from either the White House Principals Committee or the coronavirus task force in days, so officials asked for an update.

“The guidance should be more cross-cutting and say when they should reopen and how to keep people safe. Fundamentally, the Task Force cleared this for further development, but not for release,” wrote Quinn Hirsch, a staffer in the White House’s office of regulatory affairs (OIRA), in an email to the CDC’s parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services.

CDC staff working on the guidance decided to try again.

The administration had already released its Opening Up America Again Plan, and the clock was ticking. Staff at CDC thought if they could get their reopening advice out there, it would help communities do so with detailed expert help.

But hours later on April 30, CDC’s Chief of Staff McGowan told CDC staff that neither the guidance documents nor the decision trees “would ever see the light of day,” according to three officials who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

The next day, May 1, the emails showed, a staffer at CDC was told “we would not even be allowed to post the decision trees. We had the team (exhausted as they are) stand down.”

The CDC’s guidance was shelved. Until May 7.

That morning The Associated Press reported that the Trump administration had buried the guidance, even as many states had started allowing businesses to reopen.

After the story ran, the White House called the CDC and ordered them to refile all of the decision trees, except one that targeted churches. An email obtained by the AP confirmed the agency resent the documents late Thursday, hours after news broke.

“Attached per the request from earlier today are the decision trees previously submitted to both OIRA and the WH Task Force, minus the communities of faith tree,” read the email. “Please let us know if/when/how we are able to proceed from here.”


Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller contributed to this story from Washington.


Please Donate


Kizzmekia Corbett spent her life preparing for this moment.
The Washington Post
By Darryl Fears
May 6, 2020 at 1:57 p.m. CDT
Halfway through the school year, Myrtis Bradsher found herself paying close
attention to a little girl called Kizzy. She always looked sharp, with ribbons knotted
to her ponytails and socks that matched every outfit. But it was the way she rushed
to help other fourth-graders with classwork that really stood out. “She had so much
knowledge,” the teacher recalled. “She knew something about everything.”
In 25 years at Oak Lane Elementary School in rural Hurdle Mills, N.C., Bradsher
had not seen a child like her. Bradsher was one of a few black teachers, and Kizzy
was a rare black student. At a parent-teacher conference, Bradsher pushed to give
the girl the advantages she felt she deserved. “Look,” she recalled saying to her
mother, Rhonda Brooks, “she’s so far above other children. We need to send her to
a class for exceptional students. I need you to say we have your permission.”
Bradsher’s recommendation put Kizzmekia Corbett on a path that ultimately led
her to the National Institutes of Health, where she is heading the government’s
search for a vaccine to end the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than
1.2 million Americans, killed over 70,000 and devastated the economy.
Corbett, 34, is a long way from the tobacco and soybean farms that surround her
old elementary school. The advanced reading and math classes at Oak Lane
prepared her to become a high school math whiz. She was recommended for
Project SEED, a program for gifted minorities that allowed her to study chemistry
in labs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a 10th-grader. She
accepted a scholarship for minority science students that paid her way through the
University of Maryland Baltimore County and introduced her to NIH.
  • “I didn’t know Kizzy had gone that far until recently,” said Bradsher, now 72 and
    retired. “I figured she would, but I thought I probably would never hear about it.”
    But her high perch comes with more visibility and added scrutiny.
    On Feb. 27, Corbett posted a tweet that lamented the lack of diversity on President
    Trump’s coronavirus task force: “The task force is largely people (white men) he
    appointed to their positions as director of blah blah institute. They are indebted to
    serve him NOT the people.”
    And, as public health officials were reporting startling data that showed that the
    virus was disproportionately killing African Americans, Corbett vented on Twitter.
    “I tweet for the people who will die when doctors has to choose who gets the last
    ventilator and ultimately … who lives,” she wrote March 29. When someone
    responded that the virus “is a way to get rid of us,” Corbett replied: “Some have
    gone as far to call it genocide. I plead the fifth.”
    That triggered a response from Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who read several of
    Corbett’s tweets aloud on his show and questioned her “commitment to scientific
    inquiry and rational thought.” He accused Corbett of “spouting lunatic conspiracy
    Two news organizations reported that the Department of Health and Human
    Services, which oversees the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
    where Corbett works, was investigating her tweets, but the agency said it had
    merely advised her of its social media guidelines.
    Since the controversy, Corbett has scaled back her use of social media. She
    stopped appearing on television, and the NIAID declined to make her available to
    The Washington Post for an interview, saying a deluge of requests threatened to
    interfere with her work.
    In an administration in which the president has had a tenuous relationship with his
    own scientists and experts, Corbett’s diminished visibility raised eyebrows. Her
    defenders say she was ridiculed for speaking the truth.
  • “I don’t think there’s anything she said that’s outlandish that goes against any type
    of code or standard,” said Robert Bullard, a professor of urban planning and
    environmental policy at Texas Southern University in Houston.
    “What I’ve seen parade across that stage in the task force, other than the surgeon
    general, are all white people,” said Bullard, who is black. “To look and see these
    horrific disproportionate numbers of African Americans dying of coronavirus
    vindicates her tweet. She knew this virus would be like a heat-seeking missile that
    would target the most vulnerable.”
    African Americans make up 80 percent of people hospitalized for covid-19 in
    Georgia and, at one time, 72 percent of those who died of the disease in Chicago.
    Oliver Brooks, president of the National Medical Association, an organization of
    black doctors, said Corbett was right to point out the dearth of black doctors and
    researchers on the White House team. “I’m sorry — we should be represented on
    the task force,” he said. “She was just stating a fact.”
    Corbett’s tweet about the ventilators reflects a long and painful history of disparity
    in medical care and health outcomes experienced by African Americans, Brooks
    said. One of the most notorious episodes, which sowed deep distrust in the medical
    establishment, took place from 1932 to 1972, when the U.S. Public Health Service
    allowed syphilis to progress in black men without their knowledge, denying them
    treatment with penicillin.
    Long after that experiment ended, studies have shown white doctors spend more
    time with white patients than those who are black and prescribe different
    treatments. Life expectancy for African American men and women is shorter than
    for non-Hispanic whites, according to the federal government. And the death rate
    for African Americans is higher than for whites for a variety of ailments including
    stroke, heart disease, cancer, asthma, influenza, pneumonia and diabetes.
    But Corbett’s tweet about genocide “concerns me a little bit,” Brooks said. “It’s
    subjective. I wouldn’t want to go there. I really don’t believe that. We’re dying at a
    higher rate but … that one just doesn’t fit.”
    Still, if Corbett’s vaccine work is successful, none of that really matters, Brooks
    said. “I don’t care if she told me she doesn’t like my mama,” he said. “If she finds
    the vaccine, I’ll buy her lunch. I’d say I don’t like your politics, but I sure like your
  • Corbett’s team completed the first clinical trial for the development of a vaccine in
    early March. Working at a furious pace at the Kaiser Permanente Washington
    Health Research Institute in Seattle, the team hopes to have a vaccine by the
    middle of next year.
    “She’s one of the hardest workers I know,” said Freeman Hrabowski, president of
    UMBC, where Corbett studied as an undergraduate from 2004 to 2008. “People
    don’t know how hard she works. She is an extraordinary human being with a
    passion for science and helping people.”
    Corbett attended UMBC on a full ride as part of the Meyerhoff Scholarship
    Program, aimed at increasing diversity among future leaders in science,
    technology, engineering and related fields.
    The program’s director, Keith Harmon, recalled how Corbett walked into the room
    with 25 other high-achieving minority students. “I remember a very energetic,
    really outgoing young person, a people person,” Harmon said. “You could just see
    in their eyes what it meant to be in this space with people who look like them and
    have their same drive and goals. It’s kind of like they’ve found their people.”
    Corbett was intent on building on what she had learned each summer. Her first stop
    in 2005 was the Stony Brook School of Health Technology and Management in
    New York, where she studied under Gloria Viboud, an associate professor of
    medical molecular biology and program director of clinical laboratory sciences.
    Viboud noticed what Bradsher saw in Corbett years before as she quickly mastered
    unfamiliar genetic cloning techniques and devoured background literature.
    “She was always ahead of the other … students, completing an assigned poster and
    mock publication well before they were due,” Viboud wrote in a recommendation
    to the UNC doctoral program that she provided to The Post. “In 15 years of
    training undergraduate students, I must note that seeing a student as enthusiastic
    about research as Kizzy is extremely uncommon.”
    In 2006, Corbett spent a year at the University of Maryland School of Nursing,
    where Susan Dorsey, a professor and chair of the Department of Pain and
    Translational Symptom Science, ran a lab that allowed students to perfect their
    work with wet chemicals.
    “Some folks, it takes them a fair amount of time to learn the language and develop
    the skills,” Dorsey said. “She was very quick to thoroughly understand every
  • single step, which for an undergraduate student is fairly remarkable. Every student
    realized … she would definitely be a superstar — sort of not an if but when.”
    Four years later, she was in the doctorate program at UNC-Chapel Hill, spending
    her summers studying diseases such as dengue and coronavirus at what had
    become a familiar place, NIH.
    “She worked on that for four or five years and was a kind of a leader,” said Ralph
    Baric, who served on Corbett’s thesis committee at UNC. “She actually had most
    of the pioneering data.” Her interests put her in position to assume a leadership role
    if a pandemic were to strike.
    “It was a fortuitous move” that required “a little bit of luck, some foresight, and a
    need” for her type of expertise, Baric said.
    At NIH, Corbett was not shy about her ambition. During a summer internship
    there, Barney Graham, who ran the Vaccine Research Center, asked her what she
    wanted to achieve in life.
    “She said, ‘I want your job,’” Graham recalled, according to NBC News. “From
    the very beginning, she was really pretty bold in her aspirations.”
    When Bradsher learned Corbett was leading the team that could save lives and
    restart the economy, she swelled with pride.
    “I always thought she is going to do something one day,” she said. “She dotted i’s
    and crossed t’s. The best in my 30 years of teaching.”


    Please Donate

The formula for Postal retirement funding that has the Postal Service “losing” money. What the 2006 Congress was thinking is anybody’s guess. Maybe this was precursor to privatization.MA

Retiree Health Benefits Prefunding


Significant financial losses result from a legislative requirement that the Postal Service pre-fund its retiree health benefits.


Adopting a traditional “pay-as-you-go” method would produce an average of $5.65 billion in additional cash flow per year through 2016.

Unlike any other public or private entity, under a 2006 law, the U.S. Postal Service must pre-fund retiree health benefits. We must pay today for benefits that will not be paid out until some future date. Other federal agencies and most private sector companies use a “pay-as-you-go” system, by which the entity pays premiums as they are billed. Shifting to such a system would equate to an average of $5.65 billion in additional cash flow per year through 2016, and save the Postal Service an estimated $50 billion over the next ten years. With the announcement of our Action Plan in March, we began laying the foundation for change, requesting that Congress restructure this obligation.

The pre-funding requirement, as it currently stands, contributes significantly to postal losses. Under current law, the Postal Service must follow a mandated pre-funding schedule of $5.5 billion to $5.8 billion per year through 2016. In 2009, Congress granted a much needed deferral, allowing us to pay $4.0 billion less than the orignally required $5.4 billion payment. This year, Congress opted not to provide this deferral.

In the absence of legislative relief, the Postal Service was required to make — and made — this year’s $5.5 billion payment to the Retiree Health Benefit Fund. We had sought a deferral of this payment to minimize the risk of defaulting on financial obligations in fiscal year 2011. This risk remains. Even with the careful stewardship of resources we are committed to in the coming year, current forecasts anticipate insufficient cash to enable the similar $5.5 billion payment in September 2011.

Given the severity of our financial situation and the fact that we already have implemented aggressive cost-cutting and productivity-improving measures, we continue to seek approval from Congress to shift away from our unique retiree health benefits pre-funding mandate. We are committed to upholding our obligation to current and former employees but wish to do so in a way that does not constrain cash flow during difficult financial periods of declining volume.

Ensuring that the Postal Service remains a viable business depends upon elimination of legislatively-imposed constraints that impede our efficient and profitable operation. Congressional action, both to restructure our obligation to pre-fund retiree health benefits and to address overpayment to our Civil Service Retirement System pension fund, is still urgently needed.


Please Donate

Recently the Trump lawyer (once the AG of the United States (a US citizen Protector) ended an investigation  of a Trump ally (liar) for lack of evidence. Unfortunately Mr. (General Flynn) told the truth under oath but AG Barr decide for the sake of his Boss ( not us) removed all legal liability of a liar and possibly a traitor on behalf of his Boss.  This is how it is supposed to work: WE the people elect folks to do our work but in this administration there is no “our Work”, there is the work of a inept administration that is filling their own coffers in every way they can while espousing the same lines that any con man or woman would. These streams of inaccuracies and lies have brought us to this point.  We have a barely working economy due to the narcist running the country with the aid of a self serving Congress.


Please Donate

Does anyone really expect honesty out this administration about anything? Within this article TOTUS deflects and lies. MA

Peter Baker and Michael Crowley

7 hrs ago

WASHINGTON — In his eagerness to reopen the country, President Trump faces the challenge of convincing Americans that it would be safe to go back to the workplace. But the past few days have demonstrated that even his own workplace may not be safe from the coronavirus.© Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times Reporters listening to Larry Kudlow speak on Friday outside the White House.

Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary tested positive for the virus on Friday, forcing a delay in the departure of Air Force Two while a half-dozen other members of his staff were taken off the plane for further testing. That came only a day after word that one of the president’s own military valets had been infected.

All of which raised an obvious question: If it is so hard to maintain a healthy environment at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the most famous office address in the world, where staff members are tested regularly, some as often as every day, then how can businesses across the country without anywhere near as much access to the same resources establish a safe space for their workers?

© Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times President Trump participating in a wreath-laying ceremony on Friday at the World War II Memorial.

“The virus is in the White House, any way you look at it,” said Juliette Kayyem, a former assistant secretary of homeland security under President Barack Obama. “Whether it’s contained or not, we will know soon enough. But the fact that a place — secured, with access to the best means to mitigate harm — is not able to stop the virus has the potential of undermining confidence in any capacity to defeat it.”

The presence of the virus in both the West Wing and the residential floors of the White House brings home the dilemma facing the nation at a pivotal point in the pandemic. With more than 77,000 deaths in the United States so far and cases rising by the day, states and employers are wrestling with when and how to reopen without putting workers, customers and clients at risk.

But the federal government has not detailed the best way to minimize risk, much less avoid more deaths. Even as it has experienced positive tests of its own, the White House has so far blocked the release of a set of recommendations developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deeming them overly prescriptive. As a result, businesses have been left to make their best guesses with lives on the line.

Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence are now tested daily, and both tested negative after the latest infections were discovered. Staff members in proximity to them are also tested daily, as are guests. Congressional Republicans who visited Mr. Trump on Friday were spaced out around the table.

Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, told reporters that “we’ve put in some additional protocols over the last 48 hours” to reduce the risk and expressed confidence that the president could be protected. “This is probably the safest place that you can come to,” he said.

But neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Pence regularly wears a mask, nor do most of their aides. The president hosted a wreath-laying ceremony at the World War II Memorial in Washington on Friday to mark the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany by inviting several veterans aged 95 and over, even though they were in the most vulnerable age group.

The latest positive test further rattled a White House already on edge after the president’s military valet came down with the virus. Katie Miller, the vice president’s press secretary and a top spokeswoman for the White House coronavirus efforts, had tested negative on Thursday but then tested positive on Friday morning.

The result forced Mr. Pence’s scheduled flight to Des Moines to be delayed for more than an hour, even though she was not traveling with him, so that six other aides who had been in contact with her could be escorted from the plane at Joint Base Andrews before its departure. All six later tested negative but were sent home out of caution, officials said. Ms. Miller is married to Stephen Miller, the president’s senior adviser, and he too was tested again on Friday and the results came back negative.

White House officials initially asked reporters not to identify Ms. Miller as the aide who tested positive, but Mr. Trump blew the secret when he identified her publicly during his meeting with the congressional Republicans as “Katie” and “the press person” for Mr. Pence.

“She tested very good for a long period of time. And then all of a sudden today, she tested positive,” Mr. Trump said. “She hasn’t come into contact with me. She spends some time with the vice president.”

But Ms. Miller has been in the vicinity of the president in recent days, including during his Fox News appearance on Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial and again on Thursday in the Rose Garden. Her husband is in meetings with the president even more frequently as the architect of his crackdown on immigration, although he and other aides have sat farther away than they have in the past.

Multiple presidential aides are now tested daily, as are about 10 members of Mr. Pence’s staff, an official said. But tests are conducted less frequently on other White House officials who work next door in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and have regular contact with West Wing aides even if not the president himself.

The Secret Service has 11 active cases of the coronavirus and 23 employees who have recovered, current and former government officials said Friday, but it was unclear whether any were agents or served in the White House. The service, which has 150 offices across the country responsible for protecting a variety of dignitaries and investigating financial crimes, also has 60 others undergoing self-quarantine, Yahoo News reported. While tested regularly, agents in the president’s detail have not been wearing masks, and new faces have shown up in recent days.

The White House infections further inflamed the national debate about testing even as many states begin lifting restrictions on businesses and social gatherings. Mr. Trump has said testing is adequate for reopening even as public health experts said it must be much more robust to have a better map of the outbreak. The Harvard Global Health Institute estimated this week that the United States needs to do at least 900,000 tests a day by May 15, but is only doing about 250,000 now.

“One of the most important ways to protect our workers is by conducting more tests,” said Lorraine M. Martin, the president of the National Safety Council, a nonprofit advocacy group. “Increased access to Covid-19 testing for our work force will help flatten the curve by removing people with coronavirus from the workplace and better ensure the safety and health of employees who are maintaining operations during this pandemic.”

But on Friday, Mr. Trump cast doubt on testing as a panacea, saying Ms. Miller’s case at the White House demonstrated the limits of its utility.

“This is why the whole concept of tests aren’t necessarily great,” the president said. “The tests are perfect, but something can happen between a test where it’s good and then something happens and all of a sudden” it is not.

Some experts said he has a point. “People need to understand the limitations of testing,” said Nellie Brown, the director of workplace health and safety programs at the Worker Institute at Cornell University, who is advising businesses on how to reopen safely. “When you take a test you’re basically getting a slice in time. You know what is happening at that moment, but you don’t know what may happen even soon after that.”

Even so, she said, the president should be setting an example for the rest of the country, like by wearing a mask. “You need to model the behavior you want others to exhibit because you’re so powerful an example,” she said. “It’s so important for others to see we’re all doing this because we’re all in this together.”

No one in the White House seems to expect Mr. Trump to wear a mask anytime soon. His aides said it was not necessary because a mask is worn to protect others in case its wearer is infected, and the president is tested regularly. But privately they acknowledge that he has expressed concern that it would make him look bad.

Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, disputed the idea that the new cases in the White House reflected continuing risk to Americans who are being asked to return to work, with less testing and monitoring than the White House receives.

“The guidelines that our experts have put forward to keep this building safe — which means contact tracing, all of the recommended guidelines we have for businesses that have essential workers — we’re now putting in place here in the White House,” she said at a briefing.

Asked about the veterans in their 90s who joined Mr. Trump for the World War II anniversary, she said the men “made the choice to come here because they’ve chosen to put their nation first.” Asked why the president, who briefly addressed them from a distance of several feet, had not worn a mask, Ms. McEnany said, “This president will make the decision as to whether to wear a mask or not.”

Calling into “Fox & Friends” earlier in the day, Mr. Trump provided additional details about the White House valet who tested positive for the coronavirus. He said that the aide, who is in the Navy, had not worked for several days before Tuesday, when he was “in the room” with the president for an unspecified amount of time before discovering that he was carrying the virus. “I don’t think any contact,” Mr. Trump added of his interactions with the aide.

After some prompting, the president cheekily offered to send a test kit from the White House to his likely Democratic opponent in the general election, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. That, he said, would allow Mr. Biden to “get out of the basement so he can speak,” adding that “every time he talks, it’s, like, a good thing.”

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York, and Michael D. Shear and Zolan Kanno-Youngs from Washington.


Please Donate


%d bloggers like this: