White House Staff Tests Positive for Coronavirus: Secret Service, Pence's Press Secretary, Ivanka's Assistant
Mike Pence's press secretary Katie Miller is the second White House staff member to have tested positive for the coronavirus this week
As of Friday evening, two White House staff members tested positive for coronavirus, as well as first daughter Ivanka Trump’s personal assistant and 11 Secret Service employees.
President Donald Trump told reporters on Thursday that he and Vice President Mike Pence would now be tested daily for the novel coronavirus, in the wake of someone at the White House contracting the contagious respiratory illness. Trump said he was tested both Wednesday and Thursday for the virus and both times were negative.
Trump, Pence and senior aides had been tested weekly, CNN reported — part of a larger set of protocols designed to prevent either leader from contracting the virus, even as it has spread to other government officials around the world. Trump and others in the White House have come into repeated contact with officials from other countries who later tested positive for the virus.
Below are all the staff members who have tested positive for the coronavirus so far:
Katie Miller, Press Secretary to VP Mike Pence
"She's a wonderful young woman, Katie, she tested very good for a long period of time and then all of a sudden today she tested positive," the president said during a meeting at the White House.
Miller, who is married to Trump senior advisor Stephen Miller, has not come into contact with Trump himself, he said, but has been close to Pence. She addressed the news of her diagnosis on Twitter Friday.
“Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes,” she wrote. “I’m doing well and look forward to getting back to work for the American people.”
Earlier on Friday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany confirmed that a member of Pence’s team tested positive for the coronavirus, but did not specify who the person was. The vice president's trip to Iowa was then delayed by more than an hour as six other Pence staffers, who had possibly been in contact with Miller, were removed from Air Force Two prior to takeoff.
Reporters were later told that those who got off the plane were tested for the coronavirus and had tested negative. The White House is now making more coronavirus testing available to journalists, as Miller was often in contact with the press, CNN reported.
Trump’s Personal Valet
The announcement of Miller’s positive test came just one day after one of Trump’s personal valets, a member of the U.S. Navy, was confirmed to have the coronavirus. Following this news, Trump told reporters that both he and Pence will be tested daily.
A spokesman said that a government employee at the White House had contracted the respiratory illness but declined to confirm the employee is a valet or to comment on the reporting about the person's physical proximity to Trump.
“We were recently notified by the White House Medical Unit that a member of the United States Military, who works on the White House campus, has tested positive for Coronavirus," White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. "The President and the Vice President have since tested negative for the virus and they remain in great health.”
CNN reported the person is a male valet in the Navy and one of the multiple valets who serves the president. After the announcement, Trump said he has had “very little contact” with the valet.
Ivanka Trump’s Assistant
Ivanka Trump’s personal assistant has also tested positive for the coronavirus, CNN reported on Friday night, citing a source familiar with the matter.
The assistant has been working remotely for nearly two months and has not been around the first daughter in several weeks, the outlet said. Both Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, were tested on Friday and tested negative.
Multiple Secret Service Employees
There are 11 active cases of coronavirus among U.S. Secret Service employees, Yahoo News first reported Friday.
According to the Department of Homeland Security documents obtained by the outlet, there are also 23 members of the Secret Service who have recovered from the illness and 60 employees who are self-quarantining.
The Secret Service is responsible for protecting Trump and other U.S. leaders, but no details have been provided about which members of the agency are infected or if any had contact with either Trump or Pence.
“To protect the privacy of our employee’s health information and for operational security, the Secret Service is not releasing how many of its employees have tested positive for COVID-19, nor how many of its employees were, or currently are, quarantined,” Justine Whelan, a Secret Service spokesperson, said.
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