Even as First Lady chief of staff Stephanie Grisham emailed aides Saturday instructing them to work from home and the vice president’s chief of staff Marc Short sent a Friday 3:00 a.m. email followed by a Saturday conference call urging staff to work remotely, denizens of the West Wing got zip from Meadows.
Back at Trump campaign headquarters, campaign staffers also received instructions from campaign manager Bill Stepien, who later tested positive, to “wear a mask, wash your hands, socially distance, check in via the LiveSafe app on a daily basis and work from home if you’re not feeling well,” according to the New York Times. Because this is what even remotely responsible human beings do—keep their staff informed and, who knows, maybe even linger a bit on their wellbeing.
But left to their own devices, an uniformed staff under siege and likely reeling, ditched the toxic waste zone and the White House mostly remained a ghost town all weekend, according to the Times.
Though that’s not entirely uncommon while a president is away, when Trump returned to the White House from Walter Reed Medical Center Monday evening and re-entered the building at roughly 7:00 p.m. ET, he returned to an operation that’s barely a shadow of its former self.
On top of that, most mid- to low-level staffers are pretty ticked off and even scared. So however triumphant Trump imagined his return would be, his experience over the next few weeks will be nothing like it was when he left—not to mention the fact that many of his main confidantes have now either tested positive or are quarantining themselves. Get ready for a blizzard of crazy tweets.
Here’s Trump’s exit from Walter Reed and a shot of him having trouble breathing back at the White House.
BREAKING: Pres. Trump arrives back at the White House, and removes his mask, following several nights at Walter Reed Medical Center. The president left Walter Reed this evening despite not having completed his full COVID-19 treatment. https://t.co/XCER5YMh2e pic.twitter.com/rTfKo35d4G
— ABC News (@ABC) October 5, 2020