And the West Wing Trump arrived in was not its usual bustling hive of activity. Instead, it was hushed and desolate, with staffers forced into quarantine from the coronavirus outbreak that has raced through the administration. The few aides still in the building all had masks at the ready, even if they weren’t always wearing them inside or outside. Others appeared tense: White House trade adviser Peter Navarro snapped at photographers who captured him wearing a mask and work out clothes.
Meanwhile, down in the press quarters, some journalists abandoned their normal workspace, choosing to instead space out on the driveway outside.
There was even the occasional disregard for pandemic protocols. Young staffers sat close together at picnic tables during lunch. Trump’s favored pandemic adviser, Dr. Scott Atlas, was seen walking around without a mask.
It had all the confusing rhythms of a remarkable day in a bizarre year.