Bill Barr reveals he will quarantine for days out of caution while White House tells staff not to come in if they have symptoms after COVID outbreak
- Bill Barr was seen socializing a week ago with people known to have COVID-19
- Barr’s spokesman on Saturday said he had no plans to quarantine
- CDC guidelines advise quarantine if you were in contact with infected people
- His refusal was described by critics as ‘arrogant, irresponsible, and reckless’
- On Sunday evening Barr’s spokesman said he was now planning to quarantine
- She said Barr had remained at home since Friday anyway and had no symptoms
The attorney general has announced that he is going into quarantine after questions mounted about his decision to continue with his normal routine, despite coming into close contact with many confirmed COVID carriers.
Bill Barr, 70, was seen in prolonged conversation on Saturday with Kellyanne Conway at the Rose Garden ceremony nominating Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Conway was one of at least eight at the ‘super spreader event’ to test positive.
Bill Barr was pictured on September 26 with Kellyanne Conway, who has tested positive
Barr, 70, was seen in lengthy conversation with Conway, who confirmed her result Friday
Conway’s daughter Claudia has since confirmed that she too is now infected with the virus
Barr, with no face mask, was also seen with Chris Christie (pink tie), who has tested positive
The attorney general broke social distancing guidelines and shook hands with many people
Barr initially rebuffed calls for him to quarantine, as recommended under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines – a decision described as ‘arrogant, irresponsible, and reckless’ by a former U.S. attorney.
On Sunday night his spokesman, Kerri Kupec, confirmed that Barr had reconsidered and would now quarantine for several days.
She said he was not showing any symptoms and had repeatedly tested negative.
‘The Attorney General has been tested four times for COVID-19 since Friday morning and all four test results were negative,’ she tweeted.
‘He is feeling great and has no symptoms. Thank you to all who have expressed concern and support!’
Barr spokesman on Sunday night said that he had been tested four times and was fine
White House staff on Sunday evening received their first guidance on the outbreak
The White House on Sunday issued its first guidance to staff members, in the midst of the outbreak.
Kaitlan Collins, CNN correspondent, said that staff had received an email telling them not to come to work if they have symptoms.
If they develop them, they’re told to go home and contact their primary care provider, she said.
‘Staff should not go to the White House Medical Unit clinic for any Covid-19 testing inquiries,’ the employees were told.
The West Wing of the White House has remained quiet since Donald Trump was taken to hospital on Friday.
Kayleigh McEnany, who was in contact with Hope Hicks and the president, has continued coming in to work, however, to the concern of some of her fellow workers, the New York Times reported.
A White House official said McEnany did not have to go into quarantine because she was an essential worker and had tested negative every day since her interaction with Hicks, including on Sunday.
McEnany on Sunday said she would not disclose who in the White House had tested positive, citing ‘privacy concerns’.
Kayleigh McEnany is seen on Sunday speaking to the media outside the White House
McEnany, 32, was in close contact with Trump and Hicks but has not quarantined
Barr has remained at his home since attending a meeting at Justice Department headquarters on Friday, the department said.
A spokesperson for Barr told the New York Times on Saturday that the attorney general would not quarantine, but would look out for any symptoms and continue to be tested.
‘Barr’s refusal to quarantine after exposure is not ‘toughness,” said University of Michigan Law Professor and former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade via Twitter.
‘It is arrogant, irresponsible, and reckless behavior from our nation’s attorney general.’
Andrew Weissmann, a prosecutor who was one of Robert Mueller’s top deputies in the Russia inquiry, was equally unimpressed.
‘Attorney General Barr’s choice not to quarantine is so fitting: enabler of presidential fictions and denier of facts,’ he tweeted. ‘Even now. Incorrigible.’
Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor, said: ‘This is reckless and dangerous for any person – especially a person who wields power to summon others.
‘He’s putting DOJ staffers, and everyone else around him, at risk.’
TRUMP’S INNER CIRCLE WHO HAVE TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID
President Donald Trump
First Lady Melania Trump
Counselor to the President Hope Hicks
Former White House Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway
Trump’s Campaign Manager Bill Stepien
Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee Ronna McDaniel
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
Chief of Oval Office Operations and ‘body man’ Nicholas Luna
Republican Utah Senator Mike Lee
Republican North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis
Republican Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson
President of the University of Notre Dame John Jenkins
Unnamed White House Press staffer