Trump Campaign HQ Shut Down For COVID After Staffers Pressured Not To Wear Masks
According to Politico, President Trump’s campaign’s headquarters in Arlington, VA, where staffers did not wear face masks, was shut down “for its first deep cleaning in weeks after a senior campaign official tested positive for the virus.”
- The report stated that “the decision to conduct cleaning came after two months of flouting the Trump administration’s own public health guidance: There are no face coverings or temporary barriers between desks at headquarters, and leaders have limited efforts to implement social distancing.”
“The campaign’s lack of safety protections were visible during Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the office last month, during which he posed for a photo with more than 70 campaign staff, closely packed together and without wearing face coverings,” Politico reported.
- The Trump campaign, facing no threat of enforcement, “has continued to make its own rules on coronavirus protections.” Staff members stated that they “have been told to wear masks outside the office, in case they’re spotted by reporters, but they’ve been instructed that it’s acceptable to remove them in the office,” the report continued. In addition, “staff also publicly joke[d] about the risk of coronavirus and play[ed] down the pandemic’s threat.”
“You get made fun of, if you wear a mask,” said one anonymous individual. “There’s social pressure not to do it.”
- Individuals went on to describe an office environment in which campaign staff were “discouraged from telling colleagues whether they were exposed to the virus,” Politico wrote. “Instead, campaign staff have been encouraged by officials to quietly self-quarantine when they are thought to have come in contact with the virus.”
The Trump campaign “defended its approach to office safety,” with spokesperson Tim Murtaugh telling Politico, “The campaign takes the health and safety of our staff very seriously. We have enacted numerous safety measures above and beyond what most private employers consider, at the expense of the campaign, including weekly deep cleaning, daily temperature checks in the office for staff and guests, widely available masks and PPE, and testing of staff both before events and before returning to the office."