A bubble at the top

People who have to work for and near Trump because of their long-term careers are pissed off.

Mask-wearing had become rare among Trump’s staff and the Secret Service agents and military service crew aboard Air Force One — even after national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien tested positive in July.

On the campaign trail, Trump’s sons Donald Jr. and Eric have spoken to packed audiences in indoor venues. And the Trump campaign violated state regulations limiting the size of gatherings in Nevada, earning a public rebuke from the governor after the president addressed thousands at an indoor event there last month.

While the nation suffered through an unprecedented and fear-filled lockdown, there was a bubble at the top, where Trump’s actions seemed to flout the laws of disease, and to embolden — or coerce —those around him to try it, too.

In other words military staff and Secret Service agents couldn’t wear masks around him.

Now, dozens of people — donors, aides, Secret Service agents — who had been close to Trump before his diagnosis wondered if they, too, might be infected. A whole world, with Trump at its center, suddenly faced the threat that the president had encouraged them to deny or understate.

Secret Service agents expressed their anger and frustration to colleagues and friends Friday, saying that the president’s actions have repeatedly put them at risk. “He’s never cared about us,” one agent told a confidant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the internal reaction.

Former Secret Service agents said it was unheard of for agents to openly complain about their president but that some currently in the ranks had become convinced during the pandemic that Trump was willing to put his protectors in harm’s way.

Agents who work in field offices around the country complained that since late August, they are no longer being tested when they return home from working at a rally for the president.

They’re not people, they’re part of Trump’s equipment.

“It’s not just Trump. It’s the entire senior team around the White House participating in this fiction that, ‘We can ignore it,’ ” said Simon Rosenberg, founder of the liberal think tank NDN. “They’re not in a bubble if they’re around other people and not wearing masks. The whole reliance [just] on testing was insane.”

And “for security reasons,” the Secret Service won’t tell us how many agents have been infected.

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