“You guys with all your masks, you look very different than you used to,” he said, not wearing one himself.
“We’re just trying not to die,” replied Jake Sherman, a reporter for Politico.
Dr. Deborah L. Birx still coordinates the task force from her office in the West Wing, regularly updates senior staff members and still meets often with Vice President Mike Pence, according to one official, but appears only occasionally to present and discuss new virus data with reporters. Mr. Pence met Wednesday with Trump campaign workers, who posed for a photo, huddling together, thumbs up, their faces bare.
And Adm. Brett P. Giroir, who has been the administration’s point person overseeing coronavirus testing, told colleagues in an email that he was resuming his regular duties as the assistant secretary for health.
“While I remain committed to the fight against Covid-19, and will spend a portion of my time in direct support of the pandemic response,” he wrote, “I feel personally compelled to continue our office’s leadership in childhood vaccination, combating substance misuse, ending the H.I.V. epidemic in America, and improving the lives of all living with sickle cell disease.”
For nearly two weeks now, the nation has been convulsed by the twin crises of the coronavirus and the civil unrest that followed the death of Mr. Floyd, a black man who gasped for air with his neck under the knee of a police officer. Congress continues to address the coronavirus crisis — in addition to Wednesday’s health committee hearing, Mr. Mnuchin appeared before the Senate Small Business Committee, where he defended the administration’s decision to reopen the economy.
But the big news on Capitol Hill on Wednesday was the testimony of Mr. Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, before the House Judiciary Committee. “I’m here to ask you to make it stop,” he said, asking lawmakers to make sure that his brother “is more than another face on a T-shirt.”
Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, convened a virtual hearing Wednesday on how to overcome obstacles — like creating social distance and a “mask-wearing culture” — to getting children back to school.