The White House rapidly increased coronavirus testing for those around President Donald Trump and took other emergency measures Thursday after a staffer whose job potentially put him in close daily contact with the president had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The possible exposure marks the president’s closest known contact with an infected person since the early days of the U.S. response to the pandemic and raises the possibility of the virus spreading in the West Wing.
In a statement, the White House acknowledged the positive test result for a member of the U.S. military who works on the White House campus and added that both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have since tested negative.
The infected staffer is one of Trump’s personal valets, the military staff who sometimes serve meals and look after personal needs of the president. That would mean the president, Secret Service personnel and senior members of the White House staff could have had close or prolonged contact with the aide before the illness was diagnosed.
“I’ve had very little contact, personal contact, with this gentleman,” Trump said when asked about the valet.
“Know who he is, good person, but I’ve had very little contact, Mike has had very little contact with him. Mike tested, and I was tested, we were both tested,” Trump said, referring to Pence.