NEW YORK (AP) — The White House abandoned social distancing for reporters attending President Donald Trump’s Rose Garden event Friday because “it looks better,” according to the aide who ordered it.
Seats for reporters at recent White House events had been placed 6 feet apart to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. But shortly before Friday’s event, Trump aides moved the seats closer together so reporters were sitting shoulder-to-shoulder.
The decision “needlessly put reporters’ health at risk,” said Jonathan Karl of ABC News, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association.
“The health of the press corps should not be put in jeopardy because the White House wants reporters to be a prop for a ‘news conference’ where the president refused to answer any questions,” Karl said.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said it was his decision to move the seats closer together.