‘It’s insane’: White House staffers are mad about Trump’s diagnosis and terrified now that he’s back from the hospital while still infected, reports say

President Donald Trump stands on the Truman Balcony after returning to the White House from Walter Reed medical centre on Monday. Getty
  • White House staffers are anxious about the risk of catching COVID-19, especially now that President Donald Trump has returned while still infected, multiple reports said.
  • “It’s insane that he would return to the White House and jeopardize his staff’s health when we are still learning of new cases among senior staff,” a White House source told Axios.
  • A White House staff member told The Atlantic that he was “just waiting and worried for my friends and their families.”
  • Staffing has been reduced, and Trump isn’t set to be in the West Wing, CNN reported. But several staff members have tested positive, and contact tracing hasn’t started.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

White House staff members are scared now that President Donald Trump has returned from the hospital while still infected with the coronavirus, according to multiple reports.

“It’s insane that he would return to the White House and jeopardize his staff’s health when we are still learning of new cases among senior staff,” a White House source told Axios. “This place is a cesspool.”

The outlet described the source as “reflecting widespread dismay” among Trump administration officials.

The source added: “He was so concerned with preventing embarrassing stories that he exposed thousands of his own staff and supporters to a deadly virus. He has kept us in the dark, and now our spouses and kids have to pay the price. It’s just selfish.”

CNN also reported that multiple aides said they were worried they were unnecessarily put at risk over the past week.

White house exterior
The White House. DEA/M. BORCHI/Getty

Trump returned to the White House on Monday after spending three nights at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre. While there, he was given supplemental oxygen, an experimental antibody cocktail, and a steroid that is typically used in severe COVID-19 cases.

When he returned, Trump alarmed medical officials by saying Americans should not be afraid of the virus. Trump positioned himself as someone who beat the virus and baselessly claimed that he could be immune.

But the White House physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said Trump “may not be entirely out of the woods yet.” And Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US’s top infectious-disease expert, said Trump’s health could go “in the wrong direction” in the next few days.

Many people who’ve had COVID-19 have found that their health worsened about five to eight days into the illness. Trump appeared to struggle to breathe in a video taken after he returned to the White House.

People working around Trump include housekeepers, butlers, cooks, and security guards.

White House staff members and Secret Service officials stand along the West Wing colonnade before a press briefing in the Rose Garden on May 11. Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

CNN reported that the number of residence staffers working there had been reduced since Trump’s diagnosis and that Trump’s workspace had been changed to try to keep him away from staffers and out of the West Wing.

But those still working in the White House said they feared getting infected themselves, either because Trump is still infected or because the virus has already made it into the White House.

The Washington Post noted that many staffers work there for decades and are older — and hence more vulnerable to developing a serious case of COVID-19.

One White House staff member told The Atlantic that the fallout from Trump’s infection was “a huge mess.”

Trump motorcade
Trump waves from his motorcade outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre on Sunday. Getty

He said he found out from news reports, rather than an internal announcement, that Trump and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive.

He added that as other administration officials tested positive, he was “just waiting and worried for my friends and their families.”

A host of White House officials have tested positive since Trump’s diagnosis was made public last Friday, including Trump’s confidants, the press secretary, and Secret Service officials.

And The Post reported that the White House did not deploy a contact-tracing team of Centres for Disease Control and Prevention experts to try to stop the virus from spreading further.

“I find it disturbing [that] people are being put at risk who really don’t have a choice,” Bill Yosses, a former White House pastry chef, told The Atlantic.

He added: “They have families, they have mortgages, they have kids in school. I would hope that every effort is being made to protect their health, their families’ health.”

Sam Kass, who was the head chef for the Obamas for six years, told The Post: “I know that people in there are scared.

“I’m sure that they are concerned about their own lives and their families and feel very torn about balancing their responsibilities to their country, as they see it, and putting themselves in harm’s way.”

Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump’s spokeswoman, told The Post that “every precaution is being taken to keep residence staff safe and healthy.”

Former first lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday tweeted her support for White House staffers.

“My heart goes out to everyone touched by this virus, from those at the White House, especially the Secret Service and residence staff whose service ought never be taken for granted, to all those names and stories most of us will unfortunately never know,” she wrote.