U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and U.S. Representatives John Sarbanes (D-MD), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Anthony Brown (D-MD), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), and David Trone (D-MD) issued the following statement Tuesday:
“We represent the people of the National Capital Region. We are alarmed and dismayed by the casual disregard for the health of our community, including constituents who work at the White House as staff, agents or officers of the United States Secret Service, journalists of the White House Correspondents Association, and the general public.
“Daily announcements of new infections among the political, press, and custodial staff show that the coronavirus outbreak at the White House is out of control.
“We call upon the White House Chief of Staff to take prompt steps to help control the spread of the virus among people who work for or around the President, including:
- An immediate commitment to total transparency with staff, press, and the public;
- Disclosure of the date of the President’s most recent negative COVID-19 test result, which is vital for a full understanding of who might have been exposed to infection;
- Release of the total number of positive tests among White House personnel;
- Expedited contact tracing to identify and notify anyone who came into contact with the President or infected staff within the period of time when they were contagious;
- Cooperation with local and state health departments to assist their contact tracing efforts;
- Requirements that face coverings be worn by all persons inside the White House, on White House grounds, and inside executive office buildings;
- Requirements that all persons without exception observe social distancing, and quarantine following exposure to infected individuals;
- Maximal use of telework to mitigate the public health risk to staff; and
- Direct, regular communication with White House personnel to share new information and explain steps being taken to protect their health and safety.
“This is no time for publicity stunts that put people at risk, or for playing down the seriousness of this pandemic. The American people will never trust the Administration to keep them safe if the White House cannot protect its own staff.”
Their statement came amid multiple reports confirming that the White House failed to directly notify employees and others in harm’s way of the infections of the President, First Lady, and their staff for several days as infections grew, took unnecessary risks that raised the risk of infecting additional people, and failed to initiate or cooperate with contact tracing efforts in the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Ohio, Minnesota and Virginia.
Washington, D.C. reported its highest single-day coronavirus case increase since the beginning of June on Tuesday.