It seems the White House can’t even take its own advice.
On Saturday, a White House official said first lady Melania Trump — who tested positive for COVID-19 along with President Donald Trump late last week — would not leave quarantine to visit her husband while he was being treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
“She has COVID,” the unnamed official said, according to NBC News. “That would expose the agents who would drive her there and the medical staff who would walk her up to him.”
Yet the next day, the president posted a video to Twitter, announcing that he would “pay a little surprise to some of the great patriots that we have out on the street.” The presidential motorcade then drove him past supporters gathered outside the hospital, and he waved to them through the window of an SUV.
There was also a driver and a passenger in the vehicle, which is hermetically sealed.
“Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days,” Dr. James Phillips, an attending physician at Walter Reed, tweeted Sunday. “They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.”
Phillips also noted that the risk of COVID-19 transmission inside a hermetically sealed vehicle is “as high as it gets outside of medical procedures.” The seal is meant to protect against chemical attacks.
Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential “drive-by” just now has to be quarantined for 14 days. They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.
— Dr. James P. Phillips, MD (@DrPhillipsMD) October 4, 2020
This latest act of “political theater” is just another example of the White House’s mixed messaging when it comes to coronavirus safety procedures.
Despite recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Donald Trump continues to politicize the virus and misrepresent the facts. When the coronavirus first hit the United States, he repeatedly downplayed the threat of the virus — despite knowing it was serious and deadly — and urged states to reopen businesses. The Trump administration has also continued to ignore the CDC’s recommendation that everyone wear face masks in public during the pandemic, even though the president, the first lady, several GOP lawmakers, White House adviser Hope Hicks and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany have all tested positive for COVID-19.
In fact, McEnany declined to wear a face mask during two press briefings last week.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.