White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany latest Trump aide to contract coronavirus

A maskless press secretary spoke with reporters outside the White House on Sunday

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
Monday 05 October 2020 19:32
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White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced on Monday she has contracted the coronavirus, the latest member of Donald Trump’s inner circle or senior Republican to come down with the virus in recent days.

Ms McEnany said in a statement posted on Twitter she had tested negative since Thursday, when the president tested positive, and has no symptoms. She indicated she intends to work during her quarantine period, and said no journalists are listed on her contact tracing information as having been in close contact with her. A short time later, reports surfaced saying two other press office staffers also are positive.

Along with the president, she joins a list of positive White House and Trump campaign officials that includes First Lady Melania Trump, campaign boss Bill Stepien, West Wing aide Hope Hicks, Trump “body man” Nick Luna and others.

White House officials say Mr Trump first tested positive on Thursday night, but a report published on Sunday evening claimed his first positive test was earlier that day.

“Don’t tell anybody,” he reportedly told one close aide before he jetted off to a campaign fundraiser at his New Jersey resort. He also knew Ms Hicks had tested positive and was feeling poorly. What’s more, Ms McEnany briefed reporters that day from the White House briefing room.

In her statement, she denied know of Ms Hicks’ diagnosis.

“Moreover, I definitively had no knowledge of Hope Hicks’ diagnosis prior to holding a White House press briefing on Thursday,” she wrote.

Ms Hicks is one of the president’s closest aides. They reportedly talk multiple times a day and she often is a member of his travelling party.

Ms McEnany revived somewhat regular White House briefings, but her quarantine period, typically 14 days, means updates on the president’s health will continue to come from his medical team and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows – even though they have contradicted each other and sown confusion for two days.

She has held press briefings with no mask, and gaggled with reporters while not wearing one on Sunday in the White House driveway. 

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