Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is neither quarantining nor taking other precautions after attending a Sept. 23 meeting hosted by President Donald Trump at the White House, a spokesman said.
Morrisey was among nine state attorneys general to attend the roundtable discussion on “Protecting Consumers from Social Media Abuses.” Nine days later, Trump was hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19. His doctors indicated he had begun experiencing symptoms of the disease earlier in the day.
Morrisey “was not in close proximity of the President during that meeting fifteen days ago,” the attorney general’s press secretary, Curtis Johnson, said in a statement.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the incubation period for COVID-19 — the period from exposure to the virus to first symptoms — may range from two to 14 days. That makes it possible that Trump was infected when he met with Morrisey and other attorneys general Sept. 23, three days before what is believed to be a super-spreader event during a Rose Garden ceremony to announce Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nominee.
The White House has refused to disclose when Trump last tested negative for COVID-19, raising speculation about the timeframe when Trump contracted the virus.
CDC protocols also call for people who have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 to stay at home and avoid contact with others for 14 days.
The White House has become a COVID-19 hot spot with at least 34 staffers and others connected with the White House infected, according to news reports.
Others attending the roundtable discussion in the White House Cabinet Room were: U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr; Sen. Josh Hawley R-Missouri; and state attorneys general Ken Paxton of Texas, Mark Brnovich of Arizona, Jeff Landry of Louisiana, Lynn Fitch of Mississippi, Eric Schmitt of Missouri, Alan Wilson of South Carolina, Sean Reyes of Utah and Leslie Rutledge of Arkansas.
Photographs from the meeting posted on Fitch’s Twitter page show that none of the participants at the roundtable wore face masks. One photo shows Morrisey without a mask, seated two seats from Trump.
Trump told the all-Republican gathering, “We’re here today to discuss protecting Americans from censorship, cancel culture and consumer abuses inflicted by big tech companies.”
Trump has been critical of Twitter and other social media for fact-checking and either removing or tagging posts containing false or unsubstantiated claims regarding such issues as the coronavirus and allegations of voter fraud.
Trump has called on the Federal Communications Commission to limit the ability of social media companies to remove false or objectionable material from their websites, but the FCC to date has not taken action.
“In recent years, a small group of powerful technology platforms have tightened their grip over commerce and communications in America,” Trump said at the roundtable, adding, “At the urging of the radical left, these platforms have become intolerant of diverse political views and abusive toward their own users.”
According to the transcript, Morrisey concurs with Trump’s criticism of the social media policies, saying, “There needs to be accountability. There needs to be an advancement of the First Amendment.”
The transcript shows the meeting began at 3:06 p.m. and ended at 3:25 p.m.