- The Washington Times - Monday, October 26, 2020

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Monday criticized possible plans by the White House to conduct an outdoor swearing-in ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who confirmed to the Supreme Court.

During a coronavirus update, Miss Bowser redirected a reporter’s question about the proposed event to residents.”

D.C. residents and voters: What does it feel like to see people flaunt scientific evidence and common sense?” the mayor asked.

The White House had not officially announced an event, but ABC News reporter John Santucci tweeted Sunday that senior administration sources said an outdoor ceremony was in the works.

President Trump on Monday told reporters at a rally in Pennsylvania that a celebration for Judge Barrett would be “just a very nice event.”

One month ago, several people including Mr. Trump and the first lady contracted the coronavirus after attending an event in the Rose Garden to celebrate Judge Barrett’s nomination.

Miss Bowser, a Democrat, said she does not want residents “to be in that situation” and that people need to have a plan to leave places where they do not feel comfortable.”

For all you know, you could be packed in a Rose Garden event with somebody sitting next to you hacking. Ask yourself, ‘Are you going to get up and leave in the middle of the president’s remarks?’ If you’re not, [then] you shouldn’t go,” she said.

The D.C. Health Department and nine other local departments on Oct. 8 sent letters to people involved with last month’s Rose Garden event urging them to get tested and to contact health officials about the potential need to quarantine. The next day, top infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci called the event a “superspreader.”

It is not clear if virus cases in the District are linked to the event because the Health Department “does not release identifying information or details of case or cluster investigations,” according to a spokesperson.

During Monday’s coronavirus briefing, Miss Bowser was asked about the Trump campaign’s plans for an Election Night party on Nov. 3 at the Trump International Hotel, which sits on city property. She said her administration “will be in touch with our licensee, which is the hotel.”

Asked about preparations for potential civil unrest on Election Day, the mayor said officials will coordinate with the city’s police and homeland security departments to ensure “we have the resources we need around likely areas” and in neighborhoods.”

It’s not lost on us that we have been a magnet for a lot of national attention, and some negative attention, and people who are drawn here because the major actors are here, and there have been some events here that have been unusual” she said.

Miss Bowser added that the D.C. National Guard will be deployed, “if we need them.”

Early in-person voting begins Tuesday in the District, and 32 voting centers will be open, as well as six super vote centers that can accommodate a large number of people.

As of Monday, the District had a coronavirus test positivity rate of 1.9% and reported 16,812 total cases and 642 deaths.

• Emily Zantow can be reached at ezantow@washingtontimes.com.

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