Hassett made the admission during an appearance on CBS News’ Face the Nation. Host Margaret Brennan asked President Trump’s economic adviser about wearing a mask at the White House now that two members of the staff — Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller and one of the president’s personal valets — tested positive for the virus.
“I’ve got a mask right here. And the fact is that I practice aggressive social distancing. I’ll wear a mask when I feel it’s necessary. It is scary to go to work,” Hassett said. “I think that I’d be a lot safer if I was sitting at home than I would be going to the West Wing… But you have to do it because you have to serve your country.”
WATCH: "It is scary to go to work," @WhiteHouse Economic adviser Kevin Hassett tells @margbrennan. This week a White House staffer and an aide to @VP Pence tested positive for #coronavirushttps://t.co/meIIhwUVYj
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) May 10, 2020
According to the New York Times, since the two staffers have tested positive, protective measures at the White House have increased. Daily tests for “some senior staff” have been implemented and more are wearing masks.
On Saturday, Dr. Anthony Fauci added himself to the list of top health officials who are in some sort of quarantine due to their contact with the staffers who’ve tested positive. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield and Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, are all self-isolating.
This week the president publicly dismissed the importance of testing and the need to find a vaccine, saying, “I feel about vaccines like I feel about tests: This is going to go away without a vaccine.” However, it was reported that Trump was “lava level mad” at his administration’s staff after the valet tested positive, claiming that his staff was not doing all it could to protect him.
So, with fear running through the White House, safety measures there are being ramped up. But at the same time, Trump is encouraging localities to reopen while downplaying those same safety measures.
This week, when asked about both Americans being expected to go back to work and testing, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the matter was “simply nonsensical.”
“Let’s dismiss a myth about tests right now,” McEnany said. “If we tested every single American in this country at this moment, we’d have to retest them an hour later and an hour after that because at any moment you could theoretically contract this virus.”
But, McEnany was asked specifically about testing Americans who are currently working or will be soon, the same situation of those working at the White House right now.
McEnany added, “So the notion that everyone needs to be tested is just simply nonsensical. The people that need to be tested are vulnerable populations.”