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When you look at photographs of Donald Trump and his team since the pandemic, they almost appear as if they are from another world, before the coronavirus existed.
Those images may have once been intended to portray a strong White House, impervious to the virus – we have always known that the president has a keen eye for optics, after all (remember that doctored photo from his inauguration?).
But now the president has been diagnosed with Covid-19, and as we learn just how far his team may have spread the virus, these photos betray a different image: of Donald Trump the super-spreader; of all the moments his team potentially put others in acute danger. Here are those moments, in pictures.
Supreme court nomination at the White House Rose Garden
On 26 September, five days before the resident was diagnosed with the coronavirus, Trump held an event to announce his nomination for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s spot on the supreme court. The ceremony is now thought to have been a super-spreader event, with 200 people in attendance, eight of whom have now tested positive for the virus.
Here, the former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who has now tested positive for covid-19, hugs Judge Barrett close, while neither of them wear masks.
People were packed in tightly, sitting shoulder to shoulder.
Later the reception continued inside the White House. In this photo, Melania, Senator Thom Thillis of North Carolina and President Trump – who would later test positive for the virus – all mingle without masks.
As if one event wasn’t enough that day, Trump and his colleagues later attended a Make America Great Again campaign rally in Middletown, Pennsylvania.
His political counsel Hope Hicks was in attendance at the rally, cheering without a mask on. Four days later, Hicks began showing symptoms of the virus and went into self-isolation.
Supporters showed their love for the president at the rally, with fists in the air and very few masks to be seen.
Remembrance candle lighting inside the White House
The next day, Trump attended a candle lighting inside the White House East Room with families of those who died during service. People sat knee-to-knee, many of them elderly, with not one mask visible in the crowd.
The presidential debates
On Tuesday, before the presidential debates, Trump, Christie and lawyer Rudy Giuliani sit inside without masks during a news conference.
Here, two photos show Melania wearing a mask in one instant and in the next without it. The family reportedly waved away masks when offered to them that night. “When needed, I wear masks,” Trump later said in the debate. Two days later, he tested positive for the virus.
Another rally in Minnesota
On Wednesday, the president went to Minnesota for a fundraiser alongside his aide Hope Hicks – who later began feeling unwell and reportedly had to self-isolate on the plane ride back.
And social distancing wasn’t exactly commonplace in the crowd.
Hicks tested positive for the virus the following morning. Later that night, Trump would announce (erroneously) that the “end of the pandemic is in sight”.
The walk of shame
Here, Trump heads towards the White House on Thursday evening after his positive test, looking a little worse for wear.
Ever aware of optics, Trump flew to hospital on Friday, but made sure he was photographed walking to the helicopter by himself. This was reportedly an attempt to escape another unsavory image, of having to be assisted out of the White House if he got sicker.
A drive-by greeting
But he couldn’t stay away from the crowds for long. On Sunday, Trump jumped into his armoured SUV for a drive-by greeting with supporters. Here, they wave him on.
“Every single person in the vehicle during that completely unnecessary Presidential ‘drive-by’ just now has to be quarantined for 14 days,” tweeted James Phillips, an attendant physician at Walter Reed, where Trump is being treated. “They might get sick. They may die. For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: A week when Trump’s White House flouted Covid rules – in pictures | US news