U.S. President Donald Trump attended a conference with Florida sheriffs who just days before had been at an event with a fellow officer infected with the coronavirus, a report said.
As USA Today noted, he met on Friday with a group of more than a dozen sheriffs on the tarmac of the Tampa International Airport just hours after Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood reported that he had tested positive. Days before, Chitwood was at a conference of the Florida Sheriffs Association that included many of those who met with Trump on Friday, a meeting where neither the president nor the law enforcement leaders wore face masks.
“The crowd of several hundred who were close-packed into the front of the holding pen on the tarmac Friday were almost uniformly maskless, according to White House press pool reports,” the report noted.
“They stood about 15 yards away from the president.”
Trump’s official YouTube page later shared a video of the event, pointing out that he had received the endorsement of a number of law enforcement agencies and advocacy groups.
Trump has regularly been criticized for his insistence on not wearing a mask despite recommendations from public health experts who say that facial coverings are some of the most effective ways to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The president has regularly made appearances with no facial coverings, sometimes violating local ordinances requiring them to be worn in public settings and where social distancing measures could not be put in place.
It was not clear if Trump had any direct exposure at this week’s event. The report added that two of the officers were administered rapid COVID-19 tests before the meeting, though it was not clear if others had received testing.
The event was the latest instance of Trump coming into close contact with people who have either been infected or who have been in proximity to others who have tested positive. As The Inquisitr reported, a number of White House staffers have been infected, including an employee who had been working close to Trump and members of his family. He has also met with world leaders who have later tested for COVID-19.
The meeting in Florida was connected to Trump’s support of law enforcement in the wake of nationwide protests calling for police reform following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Trump told the assembled leaders that he would never defund police, pushing back against those calling for massive funding reform.