One of President Donald Trump’s personal valets has tested positive for coronavirus.
Presidential valets are elite military personnel who perform several duties for the president at the White House and outside of it, including directly serving the commander in chief their food or beverages. The unnamed individual who tested positive for COVID-19 had exhibited symptoms of the disease on Wednesday morning.
After test results came back positive, news of the valet’s infection was “hitting the fan” at the White House, according to one source within the administration who spoke to CNN.
Trump was reportedly upset upon learning about the person contracting coronavirus. He was tested immediately, and his results came back negative. Vice President Mike Pence was also tested, and his results were also negative.
The valet’s diagnosis is the closest the disease has reached Trump’s inner circle as of yet, per media reports. Trump, Pence and all other White House personnel get regularly checked for coronavirus — a move that some have suggested is hypocritical, given the administration’s stance on who should be tested across the country (the administration’s current plan is that only 2 percent of the populations across each state require screening to help determine which states should “reopen”).
Early in March, when the president was just starting to take the virus somewhat seriously, Trump made a bold promise that testing would be available to anyone who wanted to know if they had coronavirus or not. “Anybody that wants a test can get a test. That’s what the bottom line is,” Trump said on March 6.
But after it became apparent that he couldn’t follow through on this promise, Trump changed his tune, arguing that most Americans didn’t need to get tested at all.
Those sentiments were echoed earlier this week, when Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany explained it remained the White House’s view that it wasn’t necessary to test everyone in the country for the disease.
“The notion that everyone needs to be tested is simply nonsensical,” McEnany said on Wednesday.
Most health experts agree that more testing needs to happen before states or localities across the country start ending social distancing practices and opening businesses up. And while the administration continues to say that such tests aren’t needed, no expense seems to be spared for testing any person — inside or outside the White House — that comes into any type of contact with the president.
Indeed, earlier this week when Trump visited the Honeywell mask factory in Phoenix, Arizona, he himself didn’t wear any personal protective equipment, nor did anyone else near him at that event. In response to questions from reporters, Honeywell released a statement, explaining that the “small number of individuals directly interfacing with the President on Tuesday were tested for COVID-19 immediately prior to the event,” and that those around Trump were allowed to stay near him without masks as they had not tested positive for the disease.