STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.
Did Sen. Thom Tillis contract the coronavirus despite wearing a mask at the White House Rose Garden event announcing President Trump's Supreme Court nominee? No, that's not true: Tillis, a Republican from North Carolina, was seen wearing a mask during part of the White House Rose Garden event to offically announce Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, but he was also photographed inside the White House not wearing a mask while standing with Judge Barrett.
The claim appeared in an article (archived here) published by Breitbart.com on October 2, 2020, under the title "Sen. Thom Tillis Contracted the Coronavirus Despite Wearing a Mask at SCOTUS Rose Garden Event." It opened:
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) contracted the Chinese coronavirus following last week's Rose Garden event -- in which President Trump announced his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court -- despite wearing a mask at the gathering.
"Thom Tillis wore a mask at the event in the Rose Garden- he has tested positive," journalist Heather Childers reported on Saturday. A photo also shows Tillis wearing a mask at the event. Despite that, he has since contracted the virus:
This is what social media users saw at the time of writing:
Sen. Thom Tillis contracted the Chinese coronavirus following last week's Rose Garden event despite wearing a mask at the gathering.Posted by Breitbart on Sunday, October 4, 2020
UDPATE: Breitbart corrected its article shortly after this Lead Stories debunk was published.
Breitbart attributed its claim to this tweet by journalist Heather Childers, a former Fox News host:
Thom Tillis wore a mask at the event in the Rose Garden- he has tested positive.-- Heather Childers (@HeatherChilders) October 3, 2020
Childers' tweet was technically correct in that Sen. Tillis was wearing a mask when seated in the Rose Garden:
But Childers and Breitbart overlooked widely-published images of Tillis at the event without a mask on his face. The New York Times, in an article titled Inside the White House Event Now Under Covid-19 Scrutiny included this photo, with each person identified. Tillis is seen on the right, nor wearing a mask, standing close to Judge Barrett, who was also not wearing a mask:
NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes breitbart.com as:
A conservative news and commentary site that advocates for U.S. President Donald Trump's nationalist and populist policies. The site has published false and misleading claims, including about COVID-19.
According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.
2020-10-06T11:52:49Z 2020-10-06T11:52:49ZBreitbart corrected its article to reflect Sen. Tillis did not wear a mask during the entire event.