The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post are among the major media outlets that have said they will not be sending reporters to travel with President Donald Trump as he returns to the campaign trail this week.
The news organizations are wary of sending staff without basic assurances that the health of reporters will be protected, the New York Times reports.
Three White House correspondents tested positive for coronavirus in the last two weeks, as Trump and his staff continue to flout protocols such as mask wearing that reduce the risk of the spread of the virus.
It comes as Trump returns to campaign rallies despite being hospitalized with the virus for three days last week and concerns over how infectious he still may be.
The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post are among the major outlets that have said they will not be sending reporters to travel with President Donald Trump as he returns to the campaign trail this week. He held a rally in Florida on Monday, pictured
President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Orlando Sanford International Airport Monday. Several major news outlets did not send a reporter with the president
While the White House physician cleared Trump to return to the campaign trail, several media outlets did not send a reporter aboard Air Force One as the president traveled to a rally in Florida Monday night.
He reportedly did not wear a mask as he boarded the plane despite journalists being seated in the cabin.
Reporters have also raised concerns that Trump and other members of his staff who tested positive for coronavirus are returning to work before the end of their two-week quarantine.
They have said that they are being asked to make a choice between not reporting on the president just three weeks out from the election or putting their health at risk.
‘White House reporters had safety concerns and were not comfortable traveling with the president at this time,’ Elisabeth Bumiller, Washington bureau chief for the Times said.
‘We continue to evaluate our coverage plans,’ The Post said of the decision not to send reporters.
Trump’s coronavirus infection and his refusal – as well as that of some White House staff – to wear masks and adhere to other coronavirus restrictions has also placed his NBC town hall scheduled for this Thursday in jeopardy, the Times reports.
NBC executives have sought confirmation from the president’s team that their employees will not risk exposure to coronavirus from Trump and his staff if the town hall goes ahead.
They want to see independent confirmation of Trump’s condition.
The town hall is set to be one of Trump’s last opportunities to speak to a large national audience before election day and was to replace the second canceled presidential debate.
Others publications including Politico, Hearst Newspapers and BuzzFeed are also avoiding White House press pool duty, the Times reports.
It has left the White House Correspondents’ Association scrambling to find reporters who will cover the president’s events, which for decades previous had been a coveted role.
Trump boarded Air Force One on Monday while not wearing a mask, despite reporters sitting on the cabin. Some outlets are now not sending journalists to travel with Trump
The president continues to refuse to wear a mask despite his coronavirus diagnosis
‘Pools are the direct link between the White House and the public without a governmental lens or filter,’ said Ari Fleischer, a former press secretary for George W. Bush.
‘Regardless of how biased you think the press is or is not, the pool is a direct set of independent eyeballs on the president of the United States.’
The Times reports that some reporters now hope the association will do more to lobby on their behalf to ensure that safety standards are met.
Trump spokesman Judd Deere said that the White House and the association are ‘in regular discussions to ensure that all those traveling in the protective pool feel safe to do so’.
The association’s president, Zeke Miller, an Associated Press reporter, confirmed that he spoke to the White House press office about the concerns.
‘While we know no situation is 100 percent safe in a pandemic, it is our expectation that the pool will not be put in an unduly risky position,’ he said.
President Donald Trump got onstage and threw some face masks out to the crowd, while many of his supporters refused to wear them to prevent the spread of the coronavirus
Trump made his first campaign appearance since his coronavirus diagnosis on Monday night.
Coronavirus restrictions remained few with White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, stating earlier in the day that while masks would be distributed, it was not mandatory that attendees wore them.
‘We will have the same policies that we’ve had in place,’ McEnany said on ‘Fox & Friends.
She was among those infected with coronavirus in the past week and had been seen speaking to reporters while not wearing a mask shortly before her positive test.
The Times reports that Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, also continued to push back against wearing a mask when briefing reporters on Monday.
‘I’m not going to talk through a mask,’ Meadows allegedly said.
He later wore a mask as he approached them on Air Force One to thank them for traveling.
As he took to the stage in Florida Monday, Trump tossed masks out into the crowd.
He called the coronavirus pandemic a ‘lovefest’ and proclaimed that he was newly ‘immune,’ threatening to kiss members of his Florida rally crowd.
‘One thing with me, the nice part: I went through it, now they say I’m immune,’ Trump said at the Orlando Sanford International Airport.
‘I feel so powerful, I’ll walk into that audience. I’ll walk in there, I’ll kiss everyone in that audience. I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women, everyone, I’ll just give you a big fat kiss.’
Hundreds of supporters waited for the president. They walked in close quarters as they queued up in a line that stretched down the street.
Few were wearing face masks even as COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the state.
Campaign volunteers took temperatures.
Trump’s personal physician Dr. Sean Conley, released an update on the president’s health before he took the stage, stating the president ‘is not infectious to others.’
Conley said President Trump tested negative for COVID on consecutive days but did not specify which dates. The White House still has not answered questions about when the president last tested negative before he was diagnosed with the disease.
President Trump ‘has tested negative, on consecutive days, using the Abbott BinaxNOW antigen card,’ Conley wrote in a memo released by the White House press office ahead of Trump’s rally.
‘It is important to note that this test was not used in isolation for the determination of the President’s current negative status. Repeatedly negative antigen tests, taken in context with additional clinical and laboratory data, including viral load, subgenomic RNA and PCR cycle threshold measurements, as well as ongoing assessment of viral culture data, all indicate a lack of detectable viral replication,’ Conley noted.
‘The comprehensive data, all indicate a lack of detectable viral replication. This comprehensive data, in concert with the CDC’s guidelines for removal of transmission-based precautions, have informed our medical team’s assessment that the president is not infectious to others,’ he concluded.
Conley was spotted traveling on Air Force One with Trump Monday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people with COVID refrain from being around others for 10 days after symptoms first appear, and that includes 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
Those with a more severe to critical case of the virus could infectious for 20 days after symptoms begin.
The White House has not been clear about the severity of Trump’s bout with COVID.
Officials have declined to say when he last tested negative.