Have you been hunkered down in your house for six months, dutifully wearing a mask every time you ventured out for necessities, worrying about your kids’ education, and frantically trying to hold on to some sense of normalcy via Zoom happy hours?
Bill Barr has been doing exactly none of that. And despite the White House Covid cluster, he seems to have no plans to do so.
The September 26 reception for Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the Rose Garden followed by indoor receptions appears to have been the coronavirus kickoff event at the White House.
Here’s the SCOTUS nominee breathing all over Justice Scalia’s elderly widow, with Bill Barr chatting up HHS Secretary Alex Azar in the background. (Not pictured: MASKS.)
And here’s Attorney General Barr in close conversation with Trump’s debate coach Kellyanne Conway, who has since tested positive for coronavirus.
Attendees at the event were given a rapid Covid test at the door, and then ushered into the Rose Garden, where they were invited to exhale on each other to their hearts’ content.
Unfortunately, the Abbott Labs ID Now test favored by the White House is not intended for diagnosing asymptomatic cases. As the New York Times notes, it fails to detect as many as a third of infections in people who have not yet begun to show symptoms. And now two senators who attended the event have tested positive, in addition to Conway, Chris Christie, Kayleigh McEnany, the president, and the First Lady.
For his part, Barr was seen at the White House twice this weekend for “testing,” and claims to have gotten a negative result. Whether this would be from the same Rapid ID-type test administered before last Saturday’s “Ookie Mouth” party is not clear.
Barr initially announced a decision not to quarantine, in contravention of a CDC recommendation to stay out of circulation for two weeks after exposure to an infected person. But now his spokesperson Kerri Kupec has announced that he will stay home after all, out of an abundance of caution. But only for a few days, after which he’ll be back in the office like usual, fit and full of beans, ready to burn down the Justice Department like he’s done every day for the past two years.
Elizabeth Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.