Panel: Trump ‘betrayed his oath’
Ex-aide: He poured ‘gasoline on the fire’ with tweet amid riot
WASHINGTON — With the Capitol siege raging, President Donald Trump poured “gasoline on the fire” by tweeting condemnation of Mike Pence’s refusal to go along with his plan to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, former aides told the Jan. 6 investigating committee in a primetime hearing Thursday night.
Earlier, an irate Trump demanded to be taken to the U.S. Capitol after his supporters had stormed the building, well aware of the deadly attack, but then returned to the White House and did nothing to call off the violence, despite appeals from family and close adviser, witnesses testified.
At the Capitol, the mob was chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” testified Matt Pottinger, a deputy national security adviser for Trump, as Trump tweeted his condemnation of his vice president.
Meanwhile, recordings of Secret Service radio transmissions revealed agents asking
that he will respond favorably” to Paxlovid “as most maximally protected patients do.”
Jean-Pierre said Biden had tested negative on Tuesday and would stay isolated until he tests negative again.
White House chief of staff Ron Klain said in a letter that “all close contacts of the president” will be informed of Biden’s positive test “per standard protocol.”
“We have said for some time that there was a substantial possibility that the president — like anyone else — could get COVID, and we have prepared for this possibility,” Klain wrote to White House staff. “We are now executing on our plan so that the president can continue to work seamlessly from the Residence.”
First lady Jill Biden, speaking to reporters as she arrived for a school visit in Detroit, said she tested negative earlier in the day. She was expected to to keep her full schedule in Michigan and Georgia on Thursday, while following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on masking and distancing, said Michael LaRosa, her spokesperson.
The president spent much of last week in Israel and Saudi Arabia. White House officials told reporters that Biden planned to minimize contact during the trip, yet as soon as he exited Air Force One on July 13, the president was fist-bumping, handshaking and even was seen in the occasional hug. The CDC says symptoms can appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
Biden has had a minimal public schedule since returning from Saudi Arabia late on Saturday night, attending church the next day and helping to welcome Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, to the White House on Tuesday. The president traveled to Massachusetts on Wednesday to promote efforts to combat climate change.
Dr. Graham Snyder, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Pittsburgh, said it wasn’t surprising that Biden tested positive given the extent of his activities and interactions. He said Biden appears to be pursuing a treatment that should enable him to recover without facing even worse health risks.
“He’s put himself in a place to have the best possible outcome, which is the lowest probability of being sick enough to get in the hospital or heaven forbid in intensive care or dying,” Snyder said.
Until now, Biden’s ability to avoid the virus seemed to defy the odds, even with the testing procedures in place for those expected to be in close contact with him.
Prior waves of the virus swept through Washington’s political class, infecting Vice President Kamala Harris, Cabinet members, White House staffers and lawmakers.
Biden has increasingly stepped up his travel schedule and resumed holding large indoor events where not everyone is tested.
A White House official said Harris tested negative for COVID-19. She was last with the president on Tuesday and spoke with him on the phone Thursday morning. Harris planned to remain masked on the guidance of the White House medical team.
Top White House officials in recent months have been matter-of-fact about the likelihood of the president getting COVID19, a measure of how ingrained the virus has become in society — and of its diminished threat for those who are up to date on vaccinations and with access to treatments.