Donald Trump is being criticized after a photo showed him meeting with top military leaders in the White House — with none of them wearing masks.
As CNN reported, the picture showed Trump with the top leaders sitting at a table in the Cabinet Room, which is in the West Wing next to the Oval Office. Information released by the White House indicated that the meeting took place on Saturday, just days after a series of positive coronavirus cases among White House staffers.
While the picture showed each person sitting roughly six feet apart, no one pictured was wearing a facial covering. This went against the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has said that all Americans should wear facial coverings or masks in public to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Trump has come under fire for the picture, with many calling him out for putting the nation’s top military leadership at risk and not protecting himself.
Idiots in the WH not wearing masks— sheer stupidity ——that has endangered the lives of everyone who works there.— Mika Brzezinski (@morningmika) May 9, 2020
The meeting came as the White House has been hit with a number of positive coronavirus cases, including a valet who this week worked in close proximity to Trump and his family and a staffer in Vice President Mike Pence’s office. As a result of the positive cases, Dr. Anthony Fauci announced that he was going into a “modified quarantine” due to his potential exposure.
Lawrence Summers, the former director of the National Economic Council under Barack Obama, told CNN he believed that Trump held the meeting in the Cabinet Room rather than the Situation Room because he wanted it to be a photo op with the military leaders.
Summers said this was dangerous because it put everyone in the room at risk.
“Understand this — Dr. Fauci and his colleagues, when they quarantine, aren’t just doing it to protect themselves, they’re doing it to protect everyone they might come in contact with,” he said. “The president of the United States, by not quarantining, everyone else in that room, by not quarantining, is failing to follow basic medical safeguards.”
Trump has stirred controversy in recent weeks for his refusal to wear a face mask, even as the CDC recommends them being worn. Trump said shortly after the CDC’s announcement that he did not believe he would wear one, and had no facial covering this week when he traveled to a Honeywell manufacturing plant in Arizona where workers are making N95 hospital masks.