WH National Security Council Finally Orders Staff To Wear Masks

Storm clouds are seen near the White House Thursday evening on June 25, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
|
October 3, 2020 9:53 a.m.
EDITORS' NOTE: TPM is making our COVID-19 coverage free to all readers during this national health crisis. If you’d like to support TPM's reporters, editors and staff, the best way to do so is to become a member.

The White House National Security Council on Friday directed all staff to start wearing masks in White House common areas and to “avoid unnecessary visits” to the West Wing, according to an internal email obtained by CNN.

The order was issued after President Donald Trump after being diagnosed with coronavirus on Friday was sent to a military hospital for treatment. Since his diagnosis, at least three other GOP senators have reported positive tests for coronavirus. 

Masks have not previously been strongly pushed on White House grounds. Their usage has often been questioned from the top — with the President repeatedly mocking those who don masks —  and seldom appearing in public wearing a face covering to protect against the virus. 

“Effective October 2, 2020, all National Security Council (NSC) staff reporting to the Executive Office of the President campus are required to wear a mask in all common areas, including security screening facilities, elevators, hallways and restrooms,” according to the email.

“”In addition, masks are required where social distancing guidelines cannot be consistently observed which may include personal workspaces and conference rooms,” the email says. “”Unless your duties require in-person business in the West Wing we respectfully ask you to avoid unnecessary visits.”

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien on Friday had sent out a similar memo urging  staffers to wear masks which he claimed was among “practices the campaign has long encouraged.” Stepien, who was not seen wearing a mask himself en route to the first presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday, has since reported a positive test for coronavirus — adding to a growing list of Trump’s inner circle reporting infections of the virus.

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
Latest News
Comments
advertisement
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer:
SPECIAL DEAL FOR PAST TPM MEMBERS
40% OFF AN ANNUAL PRIME MEMBERSHIP
REJOIN FOR JUST $30