(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, tested positive for coronavirus infection on Monday, she said in a statement posted on Twitter.
McEnany said she isn’t experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.
“With my recent positive test, I will begin the quarantine process and will continue working on behalf of the American people remotely,” she said.
The top White House spokesperson is the latest person in the president’s orbit to test positive as Trump continues to recuperate from the disease at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Two of McEnany’s deputies Karoline Leavitt and Chad Gilmartin, have also contracted the virus, according to people familiar with the matter.
McEnany was present for many of the White House events over the last week that have been followed by positive tests among attendees. She was in the Rose Garden, maskless, for the announcement of Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court nine days ago, in close proximity to guests including Utah Senator Mike Lee, who has tested positive for the virus.
She also traveled with the president to Cleveland last Tuesday for the presidential debate — a flight that included White House aide Hope Hicks and campaign manager Bill Stepien, who have both tested positive — and again during campaign travel Wednesday to Minnesota, when Hicks first experienced symptoms.
On Thursday, McEnany briefed reporters at the White House while not wearing a mask. She later said she was not aware that Hicks had tested positive before the news conference.
“I definitively had no knowledge of Hope Hicks’ diagnosis prior to holding a White House briefing,” she said in her statement Monday, repeating an earlier denial.
But she was pulled off planned travel to Bedminster, New Jersey, later that afternoon because of her close contact with Hicks.
Despite that, McEnany continued to come to work at the White House — and speak to reporters while not wearing a mask, though she was observed taking that precaution while working in the West Wing.
On Friday, after the president’s diagnosis, she gaggled with reporters after a television appearance in the early afternoon. Later in the day, she gathered with other staff members to watch the president depart the White House en route to Walter Reed medical center.
And on Sunday, she told reporters — again while not wearing a mask — that despite a pledge from communications aide Alyssa Farah, the White House would not release the number of staffers who had tested positive.
“There are privacy concerns we take very seriously safeguarding the information of the personnel here in the White House,” she said.
As she announced her coronavirus diagnosis on Monday, McEnany said none of her interactions qualified as “close contacts” based on the advice of the White House medical unit, which counts interactions of over 15 minutes in length in close proximity.
(Updates with two McEnany deputies infected in fourth paragraph)
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