Trump creates national security risk as top military brass must quarantine

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Even after contracting it himself, Donald Trump continues to deny the severity and risks of the coronavirus.

Donald Trump's refusal to wear masks or refrain from holding packed indoor events has resulted in a major coronavirus outbreak at the White House that has now reached the upper echelons of the United States military — creating a national security crisis in the process.

Both General Mark A. Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Vice Chair General John E. Hyten, as well as the Army chief of staff, the Air Force chief of staff, the chief of the National Guard, the Naval Operations chief, the commander of the United States Cyber Command, and the operations chief of the Space Force are in quarantine after exposure to the virus, CBS News reported on Tuesday.

The leaders are in quarantine after being exposed to Adm. Charles W. Ray, vice commandant of the Coast Guard, who tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday, the Washington Post reported.

Ray had attended an event at the White House on Sept. 27 honoring Gold Star military families at which guests did not maintain social distancing or wear masks. The event took place one day after Trump announced his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court at an event in the White House Rose Garden at which at least 11 attendees so far may have caught the virus.

Democratic lawmakers say a coronavirus outbreak among the nation's top military leaders is a national security threat, brought on by Trump's refusal to take it seriously.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), who, along with a group of other Democratic lawmakers from the Washington, D.C., region, slammed the administration for holding superspreader events that imperil his community, said the outbreak among military chiefs is another consequence of Trump's recklessness.

"The White House outbreak will further imperil our national security if the President does not start taking his illness and the proliferating infections among his staff seriously," Beyer said in a statement to the American Independent Foundation. "I warned the President and his top advisers repeatedly all through the summer that failure to take basic safety precautions could lead to a major outbreak, and now that has sadly happened. Now the question is how many more people will have to get sick before the White House and the President can start showing responsible leadership, and what damage it will do."

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) tweeted similar sentiments.

"This is a national security threat, precipitated by trump's Supreme Court pandemic party, callous recklessness, and now a coverup of how far trump has helped spread the virus at the top echelons of government," Pascrell said.

Despite the news that at least nine members of the military's top brass either have the virus or are in quarantine, the White House does not appear to be doing any contact tracing to slow the virus's spread. Nor is the White House being forthcoming about the extent of the outbreak.

And although the White House appears to be the source of a major coronavirus outbreak, Trump doesn't seem to have learned his lesson about taking proper safety precautions to contain the spread.

Trump left Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he'd been hospitalized for his own case of the coronavirus, and returned to the White House on Monday afternoon, immediately removing his mask to tape what amounted to a political commercial in which he downplayed the threat. Doctors say his cavalier attitude may result in the deaths of even more people.

Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs reported on Tuesday that Trump wanted to leave the White House residence on Tuesday to work in the Oval Office, further risking spreading the virus to his staff.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.