Political News

Federal health officials would like Trump to stop shaking hands

Posted March 10, 2020 5:19 p.m. EDT

— A source close to the coronavirus task force said President Donald Trump's continued hand shaking has worried some federal health officials who wish he would stop until medical experts have more confidence he won't contract the virus.

Vice President Mike Pence has notably opted for the elbow bump that is recommended by infectious disease experts.

Last week, at a Fox News town hall, Trump signaled he would continue shaking hands, explaining he is a politician.

"I love the people of this country, and you can't be a politician and not shake hands. And I'll be shaking hands with people -- and they want to say hello and hug you and kiss you -- I don't care," Trump said.

In the meantime, three Trump advisers, one inside the White House and two outside the administration, question whether he is taking the outbreak seriously enough. Two advisers said Trump's divisive political style may not be best suited to handing the crisis.

One source close to the White House who has been in touch with Trump in recent days said he seems more worried about press coverage of the outbreak than anything else at the moment.

"I think the President is more concerned about containing CNN then containing the virus," the source said about Trump's fixation on virus press coverage.

The White House has not responded to a request for comment on whether Trump would cut down on his hand shaking. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Monday that Trump has not been tested for the virus and is in "excellent" health.

Earlier today, Trump told reporters on Capitol Hill he doesn't plan on being tested for coronavirus.

"I don't think it's a big deal, I would do it, I don't feel any reason -- I feel extremely good," Trump said.

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