White House Scrambled to Secure Masks for Staffers as U.S. Discouraged Using Them: Report
PROTECT YOUR OWN
In mid-March, when President Trump was advising the American public against wearing face coverings to protect against the spreading coronavirus, a White House team worked to secure thousands of masks for their colleagues, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday. A National Security Council team made an appeal to Taiwan’s government for help on March 14 amid growing reports that the nation’s stockpile of protective gear was at risk of running dangerously low. The majority of Taiwan’s donation was added to the Strategic National Stockpile, while 3,500 masks were made available to White House staff and officials, the Post reported. “While the administration had detailed pandemic response plans, somehow those did not include maintaining a supply of masks for White House personnel,” an unnamed official told the Post. “That was a lesson learned. We did look at buying some, but couldn’t find available supply.” While the Centers for Disease Control and the White House were discouraging the use of masks, both internally and to the public, a top NSC official was convinced that they were necessary to protect against infection and transmission. Roughly two weeks later, the CDC and the White House changed course and released a new recommendation: Everyone should now wear face coverings.