Oct 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy

GOP fears worst yet to come

Trump twitter
Via Twitter

Republican officials tell us they worry that the number of infected people around President Trump will rise, and fear that enough senators could be sidelined to delay the Supreme Court confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

The state of play: Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer began the pressure to slow the GOP's roll, tweeting: "We now have two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who have tested positive for COVID [Sen. Mike Lee and Sen. Thomas Tillis], and there may be more."

  • "I wish my colleagues well," Schumer continued. "It is irresponsible and dangerous to move forward with a [confirmation] hearing, and there is absolutely no good reason to do so."

Another potential sinkhole for the White House: a trust crisis, internally and externally.

  • Many questions are unanswered about White House decision-making in the 24 hours between Hope Hicks experiencing symptoms and keeping apart from others on Air Force One Wednesday night, and Trump tweeting his positive test result just after midnight on Thursday.

In between, the White House held an in-person press briefing, and Trump flew to New Jersey for a donor event, putting countless aides, Secret Service agents and others at risk of exposure.

  • Comedian Joe Piscopo, who attended the fundraiser at Bedminster, told AP that Trump talked to guests seated at tables "yards and yards" away: "We were all social distancing and it was all outside."

In Axios PM, Jonathan Swan reported that some White House officials have complained privately about the reckless attitude internally toward social distancing and mask wearing.

  • And "the building" showed little internal candor about the positive tests, with some top aides learning from Twitter.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told ABC's George Stephanopoulos, during a special report as Marine One awaited takeoff last evening, that he had spent a few hours at the White House each day on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, in debate prep with Trump and Hicks.

  • "I have not been contacted, George, by the White House," Christie said in response to a question. "I found out about Hope's diagnosis through media reports. ... I went this morning to a center here in New Jersey and got a test."

The bottom line: This could become the new "what did they know and when did they know it" moment.

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