White House decided to violate social distancing guidelines for journalists because it 'looks better': WHCA

White House decided to violate social distancing guidelines for journalists because it 'looks better': WHCA
President Donald J. Trump listens to a reporter’s question at an update briefing on testing capacity Monday, May 11, 2020, in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
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President Donald Trump held a press briefing in the White House Rose Garden on Friday — and according to an official statement from the White House Correspondents Association, the event was inconsistent with the administration’s own social distancing guidelines.


WHCA President Jonathan Karl explained: “Today, the White House press office positioned seating for the president’s Rose Garden’ ‘news conference’ in a way that violated the federal government’s guidelines on social distancing and needlessly put reporters’ health at risk.”

According to Karl, the Trump White House was more concerned about visuals than the journalists’ wellbeing.

“The chairs were initially positioned in a way that was consistent with social distancing guidelines but were moved closer together by White House staff shortly before the event started. When we asked for an explanation, the White House press office told us the decision to move the chairs close together was made because ‘it looks better.’”

Karl ended the statement on an angry note, asserting, “The health of the press corps should not be put in jeopardy because the White House wants reporters to be a prop for a ‘news conference’ where the president refused to answer any questions.”

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