President Donald Trump said members of his Bedminster country club who were present at an official White House press conference were attending a “peaceful protest” Friday night when asked why they weren’t adhering to social distancing guidelines.

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Before Trump took the podium, members of the White House pool press had reported that dozens of club members were standing close together in the room, and only a few were wearing masks.

After pool reporters tweeted that guests were not adhering to New Jersey COVID-19 regulations, members were given masks to wear by staffers. They had already been standing shoulder-to-shoulder for about half an hour.

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