A White House journalist confronted Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany's husband Sean Gilmartin for showing up at the press area without wearing a mask. Gilmartin, who is a professional baseball pitcher, did not comply and rather exited the press area after being told to wear a face mask, which is a compulsory requirement enforced by the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA).
The New York Times' photographer Doug Mills — who President Donald Trump called the "No. 1 photographer in the world" — spotted Gilmartin without a mask standing in the White House press area, according to White House pool reporter Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade. Johnson noted that "a White House staffer who was with Gilmartin said incredulously, 'Kayleigh's husband?'"
Mills restated the mask mandate and reportedly said that it did not matter who Gilmartin was. Following this, Gilmartin and the staffer left the area together. The Times' photographer said that he was unaware of Gilmartin's identity.
Zeke Miller, president of WHCA, told Politico that the organization "has repeatedly encouraged everyone in the press areas to wear masks at all [times], including with signage and frequent reminders that failing to do so puts themselves and others around them at greater risk."
It remained unclear why McEnany's husband was present at the briefing. Apart from him, his cousin Chad Gilmartin — hired by McEnany — attended the briefing. Chad was among several press staffers that tested positive for Covid-19 in October.
Gilmartin was criticized on Twitter for flouting the mask mandate at the White House press area and his refusal to wear one despite being told. Some users commented on his baseball career.
"Some people may be surprised by Sean Gilmartin not wearing a mask, but as a Mets fan I can assure you that he was never good at protecting things, whether it be leads or the people around him," tweeted one user.
"@MLB You folks need to chat with this jacka**. Sean Gilmartin who was at the W.H. Press Conf. today & refused to wear a mask even though it's required!" wrote another Twitter user.
McEnany and Gilmartin, who exchanged vows in November 2017, have one daughter together. The White House press secretary regularly posts photos of their daughter Blake Avery Gilmartin on her personal Twitter account.