The request does not apply to staff members seated at their desks if they are “appropriately socially distanced,” and Trump is not expected to wear a mask in the White House, aides said. In a sign of the haphazard effort to impose more stringent safety standards inside the White House, one senior administration official and several other aides were still arguing that masks were unnecessary for people getting regular testing just moments before the memo was sent…

“If you’re going to not follow your own agencies’ workplace guidance, and if you’re not even performing necessary precautions — masks, testing, tracing and isolation — it’s a setup for an infectious-disease disaster,” said Kavita Patel, a physician and health policy adviser who worked in the Obama White House.

Patel said she was surprised the White House was being so cavalier, in part because of the national security implications. “I would assume you’d keep the vice president away from the White House as much as possible, not because he has it, but because you don’t want to risk any exposure,” she said. “I’ve been shocked by how frequently the vice president and the president have been together.”