Melania Trump made staff wear face masks, work from home: report

  • Melania Trump took great measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus in her East Wing, according to a new Bloomberg report. 
  • The first lady told her staff to work from home if possible, and to wear face masks if they have to come into the office, Bloomberg reported.
  • According to the report, she was also perplexed upon seeing White House aides not wear face coverings, at one point saying: “What is wrong with these people?”
  • Her reported actions contrast with those by her husband during the pandemic. President Donald Trump has repeatedly downplayed the use of face masks and the extent of the health crisis.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In stark contrast to her husband’s dislike of face masks, first lady Melania Trump ordered her staffers to wear face masks and was often unsettled when she came into government workers without them, according to a new report from Bloomberg.

The first lady told her staff to work from home unless absolutely necessary, and required them to wear masks if they had to come into the East Wing, according to the Sunday report.

The report did not specify when the first lady started asking staff to work from home or wear masks. She tested positive for COVID-19 in early October.

Melania also appeared unsettled during multiple incidents where she came into contact with White House staff not wearing masks, the report says. 

During one trip on the president’s plane, Bloomberg reported, Melania asked if face masks would be worn, and was told yes. But when she walked to a conference room to greet members of Congress, no one she passed was wearing one.

“What is wrong with these people?” she commented later, according to one person who spoke with Bloomberg. 

melania trump air force one

The president and first lady descending Air Force One on October 23, 2020. According to Bloomberg, the first lady has limited the number of aides she brings with her on the plane.

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

On another journey, Melania was perplexed to see none of the president’s aides wearing face masks, people familiar with the trip told Bloomberg.

According to the report, the first lady has limited the number of aides who travel with her on Air Force One because of how lax West Wing staff are at social distancing. 

President Donald Trump refused to promote the wearing of face masks during the first few months of the pandemic, and only started wearing one in public in July. 

However, he has continued to mock his Democratic opponent Joe Biden for wearing masks. Two days before testing positive for COVID-19 on October 1, Trump criticized Biden for wearing them frequently during their first presidential debate. 

Melania notably did not wear a mask while watching that debate — breaking the venue’s rules — though she did wear one when arriving to the event.

The first lady herself got sick with the coronavirus at the same time as her husband. While the president spent the weekend in the hospital, the first lady was able to recover from the virus at home.

During that time, Melania did not visit her husband at the hospital because she was reportedly concerned that she might infect hospital workers or members of her security detail. Meanwhile, the president took a ride in a closed car with Secret Service agents to wave at his supporters.

A representative for the first lady did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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