White House economic adviser says it's “scary to go to work”

Washington — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said it’s “scary to go to work” amid the coronavirus pandemic, but that it’s necessary to best serve the country.

“It is scary to go to work,” Hassett said on “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “I think that I’d be a lot safer if I was sitting at home than I would be going to the West Wing. But, you know, it’s the time when people have to step up and serve their country.”

Hassett said he is practicing “aggressive social distancing” and wears a mask when necessary. He added that he believed administration officials were doing “heroic work” to address the crisis.

Several White House staffers have tested positive for the coronavirus over the past week, including President Trump’s personal valet and Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, raising concerns about the spread of the virus among administration officials.

Food and Drug Administration commissioner Stephen Hahn is going into self-quarantine for two weeks after coming into contact with a person who tested positive for the virus. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious diseases expert and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, is also going into “modified quarantine” due to potential exposure.

Hassett acknowledged that the West Wing of the White House is a “small, crowded place” and said it was “a little bit risky” to work from there.

“But you have to do it because you have to serve your country. And there are a lot of things that you can’t do except there. Like if you’re going to have secure communications, you need to be in the Situation Room,” Hassett said. “There is a reason why people need to go in, and that’s why the doctors are so careful about testing everybody every day is because they know they are going into relatively cramped quarters.”

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