Rudy Giuliani, president Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, was on Tuesday night apparently spotted maskless at a GOP fundraising event in New York – a day after coughing his way through a Fox News interview.
The former New York mayor appears to have been pictured addressing a crowd of at least 30 people in Manhattan, some of whom were elderly and also not wearing masks.
Mr Giuliani, 76, was part of a team of key aides that helped Mr Trump prepare for his first debate with his presidential challenger, Joe Biden, last Tuesday.
The president was diagnosed with coronavirus two days later. Several other aides that attended the debate prep – including Kellyanne Conway, Hope Hicks and Stephen Miller – have since tested positive for coronavirus.
Earlier this week, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced a tightening of coronavirus restrictions in a number of the state’s boroughs following a rise in cases.
Rudy Giuliani spotted at a Manhattan fundraiser tonight. See any problems? pic.twitter.com/KSBziRiYOT
— Mike Madrid (@madrid_mike) October 6, 2020
From Wednesday, indoor and outdoor gatherings of more than 25 people will be banned in a number of areas in New York City.
While Mr Giuliani’s maskless appearance at Tuesday night’s gathering does not appear to have flouted coronavirus guidelines, it is likely to raise fresh questions about how seriously key members of the Trump administration are taking the highly contagious infection, which has claimed some 211,00 US lives.
Read more: Trump news – live: President labelled ‘superspreader’ and ‘shedding virus’ each time he breathes
During Monday night’s Fox News interview, Mr Giuliani – while waiting for the results of a coronavirus test – criticised Mr Biden, 77, for being cautious during the pandemic.
“It isn’t science to be wearing that mask, Joe, when you are giving a speech and people are 30-40 feet away from you,” he said.
“The only thing you can infect is the teleprompter that’s near you. So, I see through you. That’s a political statement to scare people, wearing that mask. You do not need that mask when you are standing at a podium.”
Following the interview, Mr Giuliani said in a tweet that he had tested negative for coronavirus.
Like his boss, Mr Giuliani has repeatedly downplayed the risks associated with coronavirus, which hits the elderly, the overweight and those with underlying health conditions hardest.
Mr Trump returned to the White House on Monday having spent the weekend at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre for coronavirus treatment.