Trump's staff is reportedly seething over how he and Mark Meadows fumbled the COVID crisis

Trump and Mark Meadows
(Image credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

While President Trump is watching TV, tweeting, and recording videos while fighting COVID-19 at Walter Reed Medical Center, his White House staff is apparently furious, complaining to reporters about how they have to find out about the coronavirus outbreak in the West Wing from TV and Twitter like everyone else. White House aides were also "dismayed and befuddled" at how Trump and his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, "botched" the "crises of competence and credibility" stemming from Trump's diagnosis and hospitalization, Axios reports.

"After days of internal and external snafus as the virus spread through all levels of the White House," Trump left the hospital for "an SUV ride outside the Walter Reed gates to wave at the supporters who have lined the road ever since he arrived Friday evening," Axios notes. "Two senior White House staffers said they thought the P.R. stunt was selfish, and compounded a weekend of horrible decisions."

The spectacle of doctors and staff giving press briefings to boost Trump's mood capped "a days-long torrent of falsehoods, obfuscation, evasion, misdirection, and imprecision from those surrounding Trump as he faces the greatest threat to a president's health in decades," The Washington Post says. "This crisis — that's what it is — has highlighted the administration's shortcomings," Politico adds. "Everything revolves around Trump's moods — to coddle and manage them. And the White House that didn't have a plan to stop the coronavirus in America barely has one to handle it now that it's ripping through its own quarters."

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White House staffers are aiming much of their anxiety and frustration at Trump's chief of staff, saying "they went days with no internal communication from Meadows about protocols and procedures — including whether they should show up to work — as COVID tore through the West Wing," Axios reports. Their first boilerplate guidance arrived in their inboxes Sunday night, three days after Trump's diagnosis.

A senior administration official pushed back at the "peanut gallery criticism," telling Axios that "Meadows has been at Walter Reed with the president managing a million different logistical concerns since Friday. But apologies if anyone had to wait a couple extra hours to receive their updated email on Sunday." The chiefs of staff for first lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence emailed their staff Friday and Saturday, urging them to work from home.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.