President TrumpDonald John TrumpBarr criticizes DOJ in speech declaring all agency power ‘is invested in the attorney general’ Military leaders asked about using heat ray on protesters outside White House: report Powell warns failure to reach COVID-19 deal could ‘scar and damage’ economy MORE on Wednesday confirmed that a White House staffer tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours but said he did not have contact with the individual.
The positive test came after the White House hosted hundreds of people on the South Lawn on Tuesday for the signing of peace accords to mark the normalization of relations between Israel and two Arab countries. Trump offered few details on the latest positive case at the White House.
“Last night I heard about it for the first time, and it’s a small number of cases,” Trump told reporters at a news conference, appearing unfamiliar with the specifics.
He turned to press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who earlier in the day told reporters she would not discuss any potential positive tests within the building. She confirmed at the evening briefing that one unidentified person tested positive but that “it did not affect the event and press was not around the individual.”
“And it’s not anybody that was near me,” Trump added.
The White House has not publicized each individual case of COVID-19 among staff, though some cases have been confirmed after they were reported in the press. National security adviser Robert O’BrienRobert O’BrienDHS asks Schiff to reconsider expanded probe after whistleblower complaint, declines additional interview requests Trump officials defend president’s coronavirus response amid Woodward revelations Pence denies Trump’s downplaying hampered COVID-19 response MORE has already had COVID-19. So has a White House valet who serves the president. Katie Miller, the vice president’s communications director and the wife of Trump senior adviser Stephen MillerStephen MillerBiden pick creates furor, underscoring bitterness over Obama immigration policy Ambassador to France says Trump never disparaged war dead White House officials voted by show of hands on 2018 family separations: report MORE, also has had COVID-19.
The latest positive test follows weeks of the White House shirking guidelines from its own public health officials on preventing transmission of COVID-19.
Officials have eschewed wearing masks, and the president has held large events outdoors for weeks, dating back to last month’s Republican National Convention, where hundreds of people were packed closely together during his speech to accept the nomination.
The president held a packed campaign rally on Sunday that was indoors and in violation of a Nevada ordinance capping events at 50 people. Gov. Steve SisolakSteve SisolakTrump says he’s not worried about contracting coronavirus at rallies At indoor rally, Pence says election runs through Wisconsin Fox anchor presses Trump aide on indoor rally: ‘This goes against the president’s own administration guidelines’ MORE (D) blasted Trump’s actions as “shameful, dangerous and irresponsible.”