White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows walked away from reporters after one objected to him answering questions without a mask on, though he stood “10 feet away.”
CNN Capitol Hill reporter Kristin Wilson caught Meadows outside of the committee room where the Senate Judiciary Committee was holding Supreme Court nominee Amy Comey Barrett’s confirmation hearing on Monday.
Meadows stopped for the CNN camera and prepared to field questions from Wilson. Before beginning, Meadows grabbed the microphone and backed up several paces, trying to maintain enough social distancing so he could remove his mask to speak. As he made to take off his mask, however, Wilson can be heard moaning in objection.
“Let me do this, let me pull this away,” Meadows says, grabbing the microphone and backing up.
“Yep, pull away,” Wilson says.
“And then that way, I can take this off to talk,” Meadows says while removing his mask. Wilson lets out an “Oh” and begins shaking her head in dismay.
“Well, I’m more than 10 feet away,” says Meadows, visibly annoyed.
“Well, I’m not going to talk to the press” through a mask, Meadows says, replacing his mask back on his face and walking by the gaggle of reporters.
WH Chief of Staff Mark Meadows refuses to talk to reporters without his mask off. pic.twitter.com/LlACGLd1ou
— The Recount (@therecount) October 12, 2020
“Mark Meadows wouldn’t talk to me with his mask on,” Wilson tweeted after the encounter.
Mark Meadows wouldn’t talk to me with his mask on. https://t.co/riaMquO39Y
— Kristin Wilson (@kristin__wilson) October 12, 2020
CNN senior Congressional correspondent Manu Raju explained the incident on Twitter.
“Outside the Barrett hearing, Mark Meadows stopped before the camera and was asked by [Wilson] to put his mask on while answering. He said he was happy to talk, but not while wearing a mask. ‘I’m not going to talk through a mask.’ And then he left,” Raju said.
Outside the Barrett hearing, Mark Meadows stopped before the camera and was asked by @kristin__wilson to put his mask on while answering. He said he was happy to talk, but not while wearing a mask. “I’m not going to talk through a mask.” And then he left.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 12, 2020
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “recommends that you wear masks in public settings around people who don’t live in your household and when you can’t stay 6 feet away from others.”
Capitol Hill began buzzing with the start of Barrett’s confirmation hearings in the Senate on Monday morning. Barrett, 48, would be the youngest member of the Supreme Court if confirmed.
The day before, the American Bar Association (ABA) gave Barrett its highest rating for a judge. The ABA announced its rating in a letter to senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“The American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the federal judiciary has completed its evaluation of the professional qualifications of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who has been nominated by the President to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States,” wrote Randall Noel, chairman of the ABA’s standing committee.
“As you know, the Standing Committee confines its evaluation to the qualities of integrity, professional competence, and judicial temperament. A substantial majority of the standing committee determined that Judge Barrett is ‘Well Qualified,’ and a minority is of the opinion that she is ‘Qualified’ to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. The majority rating represents the Standing Committee’s official rating,” Noel said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has previously referred to the ABA’s judicial ratings as “the gold standard by which judicial candidates are judged.”
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