A staffer in Vice President Mike Pence’s office reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday, marking the second known case of COVID-19 this week in someone having access to President Donald Trump’s inner circle.
According to White House pool reports, Pence’s flight to Des Moines, Iowa, was delayed on the tarmac of Joint Base Andrews in Maryland for an hour this morning, and multiple people deplaned. Six people who had contact with the staffer were removed from the flight, CNN reported, citing White House sources.
On Thursday, the White House confirmed that a personal military valet for Trump ― a staff member who comes in close contact with both him and his family and serves them food ― had a confirmed case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
He and other valets have not been wearing masks, the White House said Thursday. On Friday morning, Trump said on Fox News that “they’ve already started” to wear them.
Both Trump and Pence tested negative for the coronavirus on Thursday, the White House reported. However, this second diagnosis again raises the possibility that Trump has been exposed to the virus while he often downplays the magnitude of the pandemic and focuses on reopening the nation’s economy.
Pence last week came under fire for not wearing a mask during a visit to Minnesota’s prestigious Mayo Clinic. He has admitted that was a mistake, saying he “didn’t think it was necessary, but I should have worn a mask.”
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