Several reporters on the White House beat have now tested positive for the coronavirus.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who has tested positive for COVID-19, on Tuesday defended potentially exposing journalists to the coronavirus by removing her mask when briefing them.
McEnany justified her behavior by telling Fox News she only removed her mask for "58 seconds."
"I removed my mask for 58 seconds to answer the questions from reporters," McEnany said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people "wear a mask correctly and consistently for the best protection."
"Kayleigh briefly removed her mask at the mic to answer questions, was there for two questions and only 58 seconds (would not constitute 'sustained contact' per the CDC), and was socially distanced from reporters in the area," a White House official told the American Independent Foundation.
"Senior White House staff are deemed Essential Personnel by CDC & DHS. This means they are expected to continue to work - while taking precautions - until a medical recommendation otherwise is given," the official said.
McEnany, who has defended and echoed Donald Trump's anti-mask rhetoric for months, also claimed she "wore my mask diligently."
Several White House reporters have tested positive for the coronavirus over the last few days. The deadly virus that has killed more than 210,000 Americans so far.
From the Oct. 6 edition of Fox News' "The Story":
MARTHA MacCALLUM, Fox News: Why the decision to go ahead and brief them when you knew you had been exposed?
KAYLEIGH McENANY: Yeah, I certainly would take issue with that. Let me back up first, the briefing I had Thursday prior to that I had no knowledge of [unintelligible] testing positive, so I went into a briefing not knowing I was a close contact. After learning that I was, me and my entire staff started wearing masks as we've done with prior close contact incidences, with Katie Miller for instance.
I removed my mask for 58 seconds to answer the questions from reporters, who by the way knew I was a close contact, we were outside, we were socially distanced so that they could hear me clearly just as the doctors at Walter Reed did.
I removed my mask for a total of 58 seconds and notably a reporter as I was leaving was shouting, "How dare you only take two questions." All the while knowing I was a close contact. I wore my mask diligently but leave it to the media to once again mischaracterize the situation.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.