Trump chief of staff refuses to speak to reporters with mask on

WASHINGTON — White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Monday refused to keep his face mask on when speaking to reporters at the Capitol during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

Outside of the Senate hearing room, Meadows was seen moving a microphone stand away from reporters and said as he removed his mask, "I’m more than 10 feet away...that way I can take this off."

A reporter then asked Meadows to put back on his face-covering. Meadows put it back on, then walked away.

“I’m not going to talk through a mask,” Meadows said as he left the area.

Inside the hearing room, Meadows and White House counsel Pat Cipplone sat in the front row wearing masks.

Meadows has been working out of the White House over the last week, interacting with President Donald Trump while he was recovering from Covid-19. During that time, it was unclear whether Trump was still contagious. Meadows last reported testing negative for the virus last Monday.

More than a dozen people who have had contact with Trump recently have tested positive for Covid-19, including two GOP senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mike Lee and Thom Tillis. Lee appeared in person Monday after getting the green light from his doctor while Tillis participated remotely.