Asked about the outdoor event the White House is planning to host on Monday evening following the Senate vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser posed the question to voters, questioning, “What does it feel like to see people flaunt scientific evidence and common sense?”
During a press conference Monday morning, Bowser also referenced the large and mask-less event held weeks ago in the Rose Garden to celebrate Barrett’s nomination, which preceded a coronavirus outbreak that included President Trump and many of those in his orbit.
The mayor said many who attended the now-infamous event were “embarrassed” by their participation and explained she does not want to see DC residents and others from the surrounding areas put in a similar situation.
Bowser urged anyone who was considering attending Monday’s event to ask themselves how they will leave the situation if it is not safe, saying this is the consideration she makes when she goes out in public.
“For all you know you could be packed in a Rose Garden event with somebody sitting next to you hacking. Ask yourself – if that’s happening, are you going to get up and leave in the middle of the President’s remarks? If you’re not, you shouldn’t go,” Bowser said.
She then turned to the potentially dire consequences of attending a large gathering during the pandemic.
“You know, 642 people have died here,” Bowser said of Washington, DC. “So you can believe that you can go to the White House and get Covid and nothing is going to happen to you, perhaps. Or you could die from it.”
Some background: CNN reported Sunday that President Trump is expected to swear in Barrett at the White House at 9:00 p.m., according to a source familiar with the invitation.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Monday morning the White House would be “doing the best we can” to prevent an outbreak at the event, including “encouraging as much social distancing as possible” and testing “in and around those that are critical to the mission.”
As of Monday morning, the District had reported at least 16,812 positive cases of coronavirus.