In the wake of a coronavirus outbreak within the Trump administration, Democrats on Capitol Hill are demanding answers about the event they say was the likely source of the infectious spread.
Two top Senate Democrats have sent a letter to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, seeking details about the “super-spreader” ceremony held last month at the White House Rose Garden to introduce Amy Coney Barrett as President Donald Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, as reported by the Washington Examiner.
“Steps the White House is taking”
The letter was sent on Tuesday and signed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.
Their demand comes in the wake of positive coronavirus test results for Trump, three Republican senators, and several top GOP officials, White House staffers, and reporters. Many of those infected were in attendance at the Barrett event.
“We write seeking information on the steps the White House is taking to address the COVID-19 super-spreader event that occurred at the White House complex last week and the outbreak that has hospitalized the President of the United States and infected numerous White House staff, multiple journalists, three United States Senators, and many others,” the Democrats wrote.
Citing their concern that the event put a wide range of lives at risk, the letter stated that “Secret Service officials, active-duty military personnel, White House and congressional staff, journalists, and others who visit or work in the White House complex — including those potentially exposed at the reception for Judge Barrett or in any other setting — need the facts about this outbreak to keep themselves and their families safe.”
From there, the senators took a more accusatory tone toward the White House.
“Lack of regard for public health and safety”
The letter claimed the Trump administration has “conducted itself in a secretive manner and shown a complete lack of regard for public health and safety,” adding that officials have “deliberately withheld” vital information about the health of the president and those around him.
They went on to accuse the White House of conducting “minimal” contact tracing of those who tested positive after the ceremony.
“The opaque and secretive handling of information related to these events constitutes an obvious threat to public health and is unacceptable in a free nation whose elected leaders must be transparent with and accountable to the American people,” they declared.
Vice President Mike Pence defended the event during Wednesday evening’s vice-presidential debate, asserting that many attendees “actually were tested for coronavirus” ahead of the outdoor event, using it as an example to show that “President Trump trusts the American people to make choices in the best interest of their health.”
Nevertheless, Senate Democrats and others in the party appear emboldened by yet another perceived line of attack against the president and his third Supreme Court nominee.