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A White House Long in Denial Confronts Reality

Aides had been divided on the dangers. Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and Dan Scavino, the White House social media director, had been among the many least involved, colleagues mentioned. They seen themselves as protected due to the testing accessible to them and maintained that getting the virus was not a demise sentence.

Ms. Hicks, a longtime aide who is likely one of the president’s closest advisers, was extra involved, colleagues mentioned. She took extra precautions than most others and generally wore a masks in conferences.

Colleagues mentioned that newcomers to Mr. Trump’s orbit, like Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, by no means wore a masks in his presence, in what was interpreted by different employees members as an try and please the brand new boss.

As the months progressed, a small variety of individuals within the White House examined optimistic, together with a valet to the president, a top aide to the vice president and Robert C. O’Brien, the nationwide safety adviser. But when few others did, aides to the president grew even much less involved.

By June, the month earlier than Mr. O’Brien tested positive, the White House had already stopped conducting temperature checks for individuals getting into the complicated. Only these aides who had been interacting instantly with the president acquired every day exams. Masks remained uncommon sightings.

The perspective was widespread within the administration. At the Justice Department in May, Attorney General William P. Barr advised a New York Times Magazine reporter who arrived in a masks for an interview that “I’m not going to infect you,” after which sat by as an aide prompt, twice, that the reporter take the masks off. The reporter did.

Even on Friday, solely hours after the president had introduced at 1 a.m. on Twitter that he and the primary girl had examined optimistic, the White House was making an attempt to venture that it was enterprise as ordinary. “We had a great jobs report this morning,” Mark Meadows, the president’s chief of employees, advised reporters on the White House. “Unfortunately, that’s not what everybody is focused on this morning.”

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