The White House is organizing up to 20 indoor festive parties this season, even though its own coronavirus task force warns that the epidemic is “in a very dangerous place,” and senior health officials have warned against covert festivities.
One such party was held on Tuesday night and featured a brief performance by President Donald Trump. Pictures from the event show several participants not wearing masks, including Republican National Committee Chairman Ronna McDaniel. McDaniel gave a positive result for Covid-19in in late September after spending time with the president, who also gave a positive result at about the same time.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has withdrawn concerns that rallies could set a bad example for Americans when they set off for the holiday season.
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“If you can rob businesses, burn buildings, get involved in protest, you can also go to a Christmas party. You can celebrate Christmas and you can do it responsibly,” he told reporters. “We’re taking part in celebrating Christmas,” added McEnany, who gave a positive result on the coronavirus at the White House during an October epidemic.
Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff to Melania Trump, said in an earlier Wednesday statement that the White House is “celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah while providing the safest possible environment”.
Security measures, according to Grisham, included smaller guest lists and mask requirements, and social distancing was also “encouraged.” However, photos of Tuesday’s event showed a crowded party, with no social distancing, and many guests without masks.
Grisham also mentioned other safety measures, such as “food coated separately at food stations protected by chefs from plexiglass” and covered drinks.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has planned a number of indoor parties, including one at the State Department, to which 900 people have been invited, The Washington Post reported.
“We have taken every precaution to filter out the number of individuals in all spaces at once and plan to open up the open space outdoors and make it available to participants if the weather allows,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman responded to the report, adding : it is planned to follow all guidelines of health officials, including wearing masks for participants.
Similar security measures were in place at the White House at an election night ceremony, although not many wore masks. Several participants in the event, including Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff, Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski Trump, received positive results after the virus.
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The September White House series of events, both indoors and outdoors, presenting Amy Coney Barrett as a candidate for Trump’s Supreme Court, also called Dr. Anthony Fauci a “superpower”.
Grisham said of the festive celebrations that attending will be “a very personal choice.”
“It’s an old tradition for people to visit and enjoy the merry and iconic decorations of the White House’s annual Christmas celebrations,” he said.
A White House coronavir virus task force report released to states earlier this week by NBC News on Wednesday warned that “the risk of COVID is at an all-time high for all Americans,” stating that “it should be made clear that if you are over 65 if you have an older or significant medical condition, do not enter indoor public spaces where anyone is exposed because of an imminent danger to their health. “
Yasmine Salam, Mohammed Syed, Rebecca Shabad and Abigail Williams consented.