The White House has remained mum about the date of President Trump’s last negative covid-19 test. It’s a frustrating reality made worse by Deputy White House Press Secretary Brian Morgenstern, who refused to offer details about this chaotic timeline during a Friday morning appearance on MSNBC.
Anchor Hallie Jackson repeatedly pressed Morgenstern for information but was rebuffed every time.
“We don’t have that—I don’t personally know,” Morgenstern sputtered. “The president doesn’t check all of his HIPPA rights at the door just when he becomes president.”
Morgenstern said that Trump is very transparent with the American people, and that the president’s team works closely with his doctors, going over vitals, memos, and the like. Jackson noted that Trump’s doctors are sharing plenty of other information about the president’s health, so why not information about the covid test?
“You know there is a public health reason for this, and it impacts the people who were potentially exposed to the virus before the president was diagnosed,” Jackson said. “Why not be transparent about that very specific piece of information?
Morgenstern demurred and said that such information lacks “public health value.”
Counterpoint: Many people—wait staff, food service employees, other workers outside of Trump’s inner circle, appalled medical experts watching this clusterfuck from afar—would find that this information is bursting with public health value.
President Trump attended several mask-free events leading up to his diagnosis one week ago: He attended a rally in Virginia, the notorious superspreader Rose Garden event for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Bennett, a rally in Pennsylvania, a press conference at the White House, the first presidential debate in Ohio, a rally in Minnesota, and a fundraising event at his golf club in New Jersey.
“The president was socially distanced from people,” Morgenstern insisted. He then referenced the New Jersey event, noting that, “[Trump] was never within six feet from anybody—”
“That’s not true, we’ve seen video of the president over the weekend, Brian,” Jackson exclaimed. “We have eyeballs.”
That’s not all: The New York Times reported that, according to one fundraiser attendee, “the president came in contact with about 100 people” and “seemed lethargic.” How the White House can downplay the “public health value” of Trump’s covid-19 timeline given the facts is ludicrous.
Still, it’s par for the course for the Trump administration: hide, conceal, hide some more, and convince the American people that they’re the crazy ones for wanting a sliver of transparency.
“Did the president at least comply with the Cleveland Clinic debate requirements to be negative tested in the 72 hours before that debate?” Jackson asked.
“Hallie, you are very focused on looking backward,” Morgenstern said. “The president is very interested in getting back on the campaign trail as soon as he is not transmitting the virus... and by the way, he cannot wait to debate Joe Biden.”