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White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a press briefing at the White House on Monday, July 06, 2020 in Washington, DC. Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were appalled that White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany interacted with reporters despite knowing she'd been exposed to the coronavirus.
President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and White House adviser Hope Hicks have all tested positive for the highly contagious virus, and Associated Press reporter Jonathan Lemire said some senior officials knew they had been exposed before holding public events.
"That's an important moment because it raised eyebrows at the time that he travelled with, this is before we knew anything about Hope Hicks, he travelled with a smaller party than usual yesterday to New Jersey," Lemire said, "and Kayleigh McEnany, who we were told was slated to travel with him did not. Instead, one of the deputy press secretaries did. Kayleigh McEnany was, we have now learned, notified of Hope Hicks' positive diagnoses yesterday and later in the day still held a briefing with White House reporters, and, of course, she was not wearing a mask."
"Good lord," Scarborough said. "Are you kidding me?"
"Oh my god," Brzezinski added. "Stop right there."
"Screaming about the river," Brzezinski added.
"She knew that she had been exposed to this disease, and went out and still had a press conference in front of members of the press?" Scarborough said.
Lemire agreed that may have happened, although subsequent reporting showed McEnany did not know about Hicks' positive test until shortly before the news broke Thursday evening.
"That's correct, Joe," he said. "She still took the podium in the White House briefing room. Yes, she took to the podium in the White House briefing room and spoke to reporters after learning that Hope Hicks had not been feeling well, after learning that Hope Hicks tested positive. The president himself did not interact with reporters, which was noteworthy — that's rare these days. No reporters had contact with him, other than waving at a distance headed to the helicopter headed to his New Jersey fundraiser."
"Another key person in this, if the person were to be sick, is Vice President [Mike] Pence," Lemire added. "He did not travel with the president the last two days. He's had his own travel schedule, he was not in Washington [on] Wednesday or Thursday, he was on the campaign trail but he was seen Tuesday ahead of the debate heading into the White House residence, presumably to wish the president luck. So on Tuesday, we believe, there was contact between the president and vice president."