At that point, per the pool report, a White House staffer “incredulously” asked, “Kayleigh’s husband?” As Mills replied that the rules on mask-wearing applied to everyone, the staffer exited the room with Gilmartin, who played last season for the Tampa Bay Rays. Mills subsequently told Johnson that he was unaware of Gilmartin’s identity when he confronted the veteran relief pitcher.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Gilmartin’s lack of a mask.
Zeke Martin of the Associated Press, the president of the WHCA, told The Washington Post via email that his organization has “repeatedly encouraged everyone in the press areas to wear masks at all time, including with signage and frequent reminders that failing to do so puts themselves and others around them at greater risk.”
After a member of the White House press corps tested positive Tuesday for the coronavirus, the WHCA sent a memo to members reminding them that, among other policies, masks are “required in all shared press areas and social distancing should be maintained to the greatest extent practicable.”
WHCA Vice President Steven Portnoy, a reporter for CBS News Radio, said Wednesday on Twitter that neither McEnany nor any of the six aides and a guest whom she brought to the briefing room wore masks. According to Politico, one of those aides was Chad Gilmartin, a White House assistant press secretary who is a cousin of Sean Gilmartin.
Gilmartin and McEnany tested positive for the coronavirus in early October, around the time that President Trump also contracted the virus, as did three members of the White House press corps. In response, the WHCA stated at the time that it has “repeatedly pressed the White House [italics in the original] at all levels to take steps to improve the safety conditions for journalists working there — and specifically to avoid knowingly putting in unnecessary jeopardy those serving in the pool who must be present as the eyes and ears of the American public.”
McEnany and Gilmartin were married in 2017, when he was with the New York Mets, and they have a baby daughter. McEnany, a Tampa native with deep family roots there, described it in March as “incredibly helpful” (via the Tampa Bay Times) that her husband was signed by the Rays, following three seasons with the Mets and then two with the Baltimore Orioles.
Gilmartin, 30, appeared in two games for the Rays during this year’s truncated MLB season, and was not active for any playoff games during the team’s run to the World Series. He was designated for reassignment three times by the Rays this year while posting an 8.31 ERA. A left-hander who starred at Florida State, Gilmartin had a successful rookie season with the Mets in 2015, notching a 2.67 ERA in 50 appearances, but since then he has produced a 6.09 ERA in 31 major league appearances over five seasons and three teams.
Gilmartin told the Tampa Bay Times in March that he “won’t get too involved” in his wife’s world of politics, particularly not in the clubhouse. However, shortly before Election Day he joined McEnany onstage, holding their infant daughter, at a Trump campaign rally in Tampa where she defended the president’s handling of the pandemic.
The 32-year-old McEnany began Wednesday’s briefing by accusing Democratic politicians, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, of “hypocrisy” for imposing “draconian” restrictions on citizens amid the pandemic while allegedly not always adhering themselves to safe practices. McEnany showed photos and videos of the politicians while declaring, “These images behind me make clear Democrats’ mind-set: rules for thee but not for me.”
“The President stands with you, your freedom, your ability to decide how to best protect your health,” she continued. “We all know how to protect ourselves from covid-19: wash your hands, socially distance, wear a mask.”