- White House spokesman Brian Morgenstern refused to disclose when President Donald Trump last tested negative for COVID-19 at least six times in one interview.
- “You are very focused on looking backwards,” Morgenstern told MSNBC correspondent Hallie Jackson.
- Morgenstern’s interview is part of a pattern of the White House refusing to reveal the president’s last negative test.
- The last time Trump or anyone in the White House was on the record regarding a negative test wasMay 21.
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The White House is still refusing to reveal the last time President Donald Trump tested negative for COVID-19, increasing confusion around the timeline of his infection and anyone else potentially exposed to the virus by the president.
Trump spokesman Brian Morgenstern dodged answering the question at least six times during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Live With Hallie Jackson” on Friday.
“The president shares a great deal of information with the American public,” he told Jackson, citing HIPAA as to why he cannot disclose Trump’s last negative test, though Trump could waive his HIPAA rights.
Moments earlier, he said he would reveal the results of Trump’s most recent test.
“What’s the difference? Why not be more transparent?” Jackson pushed back.
“It’s not something that has the public health value that the other information we’re releasing does,” Morgenstern said. “That’s why we’re releasing information in the interest of public health.”
“I think medical experts would absolutely disagree with that about the public health value,” Jackson responded.
Public health experts and epidemiologists uniformly say that knowledge of Trump’s infection timeline is helpful for contract tracing matters and to better understand how long the president could be infectious. Since Trump announced he contracted the disease last Friday, confirmed cases of the virus have exploded at the White House and among his allies.
“You are very focused on looking backwards,” Morgenstern told Jackson after she asked whether the president fulfilled Cleveland Clinic’s requirements to test negatively for COVID-19 within 72 hours of the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio.
“I’m very focused on getting an answer to this question, Brian. I think a lot of people are,” she replied.
Morgenstern’s line is an almost exact repetition of what Trump’s doctor Sean Conley told reporters earlier this week when pressed on the issue. “I don’t want to go backwards,” Conley said.
The two are part of a pattern within the Trump administration of officials refusing to disclose important information about the president’s health. When asked about the topic on Thursday, White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said, “I can’t reveal that at this time. Doctors would like to keep it private.”
The last time Trump publicly disclosed he tested negative was on May 21.
—andrew kaczynski🤔 (@KFILE) October 9, 2020