Trump Aide Luna Tests Positive for Virus in New White House Case

(Bloomberg) — White House aide Nick Luna, who serves as a personal attendant to President Donald Trump, has tested positive for coronavirus infection, according to people familiar with the matter.

a man wearing a suit and tie: WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 01: (L-R) Special Assistnat to the President Nick Luna, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and son-in-law and senior advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump Jared Kushner attend an announcement that the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency approval for the antiviral drug remdesivir in the Oval Office at the White House May 01, 2020 in Washington, DC. A federal government trial found that patients with COVID-19 receiving Gilead Sciences' remdesivir recovered more quickly but the drug did not significantly reduce fatality rates. (Photo by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

© Photographer: Pool/Getty Images North America
WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 01: (L-R) Special Assistnat to the President Nick Luna, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and son-in-law and senior advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump Jared Kushner attend an announcement that the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency approval for the antiviral drug remdesivir in the Oval Office at the White House May 01, 2020 in Washington, DC. A federal government trial found that patients with COVID-19 receiving Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir recovered more quickly but the drug did not significantly reduce fatality rates. (Photo by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

Luna’s diagnosis emerged a little more than 24 hours after Trump entered the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment of Covid-19 following his own infection.

Known as one of Trump’s so-called body men, Luna is the latest member of Trump’s inner circle of White House personnel to contract coronavirus. Hope Hicks, one of the president’s closest advisers, fell ill on Wednesday while traveling with Trump to Minnesota.

Luna, who runs Oval Office operations for the White House, accompanied Trump on his trip to Cleveland for the presidential debate on Tuesday and was also aboard Air Force One on the Minnesota trip when Hicks first began experiencing symptoms.

Luna was one of the aides who had planned to accompany Trump on Thursday to a fundraiser at the president’s golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, but stayed behind because of recent close contact with Hicks.

The White House press office had no immediate comment.

Earlier this year, Luna married Cassidy Dumbauld, an assistant to White House senior adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.

In his job as a body man, Luna travels closely with the president, holding papers and helping keep Trump’s schedule.

In addition to Luna and Hicks, the president’s re-election campaign manager Bill Stepien, 2016 campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, and a number of prominent Republican lawmakers and officials have tested positive since Thursday.

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White House correspondents test positive for coronavirus along with White House press aide

The White House Correspondents’ Association urged its members to steer clear of the press room and the small warren of workspaces behind it inside the East Wing unless they have urgent business. In the first of several emails on Friday, the group’s president, Zeke Miller of the Associated Press, asked journalists who don’t have an enclosed office in the workspace and aren’t part of the press pool — the rotating group of reporters that follows the president and shares its reporting with other reporters — to stay away from the White House altogether.

The new infections coincide with White House and Trump campaign events, including the formal introduction of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, in a Rose Garden ceremony Saturday.

One reporter who covered the ceremony said journalists were confined to a penlike enclosure behind the seated guests, with little space between them. Almost none of the invited guests wore masks, said the reporter, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the situation. The guests included Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who has since tested positive for the coronavirus.

One of the newly infected journalists, whom the WHCA didn’t identify, was at the Rose Garden event on Saturday; he also rode in the press pool van that followed Trump as he played golf on Sunday, according to the WHCA. The journalist began to experience symptoms on Wednesday. A second unidentified journalist, who covered a White House briefing on Sunday, received two positive tests on Friday.

In an interview, Shear said he went to the White House on Saturday but didn’t cover the ceremony introducing Barrett. However, he was part of the press pool that covered Trump’s rally that night in Pennsylvania, and traveled to and from on Air Force One. Trump briefly spoke off the record to reporters on the plane on the way back from the rally. He noted that Trump didn’t wear a mask at that time.

Shear said he doesn’t know for sure who infected him or when, but he had contact with a number of people who could have passed the virus along, including Trump.

“Like people in a lot of other professions, I realize there’s some element of risk always” in covering the president, he said. “I feel strongly that reporting for the paper is worth some of that risk.”

But he added, “That said, I wish the White House had taken some of the recommendations that the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has been talking about for months,” such as requiring people to wear masks, practicing social distancing, and limiting crowd sizes. “There are some things the White House could have done to minimize the risk more.”

Shear said he started having symptoms, including a low-grade fever, aches and a cough, on Thursday. A test confirmed a positive diagnosis on Friday. He said he plans to quarantine at home and is hoping to keep working through his illness.

Despite the president’s diagnosis, the White House hasn’t announced any new preventive measures. Employees

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White House initiated contact tracing after aide tested positive: spokeswoman

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Contact tracing was put into place at the White House immediately after Trump aide Hope Hicks tested positive for coronavirus, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks in the Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 1, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

“Immediately there was contact tracing that was put into place and all of the necessary procedures,” McEnany said without elaborating on when Hicks received her positive result.

She said Trump got his positive result on Thursday night and “within an hour, we put out that information to the American people.”

In separate remarks to reporters, McEnany said it was considered safe for Trump to travel to his resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, for a private fundraiser on Thursday.

“It was deemed safe for the president to go. He socially distanced, it was an outdoor event and it was deemed safe by White House operations for him to attend that event,” she said.

She also told reporters she was not aware that Hicks had tested positive when she held a briefing at the White House on Thursday morning.

Trump did not participate in the one item remaining on his schedule on Friday, but McEnany said he had telephone calls with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham. She said he discussed emergency declarations and the coronavirus stimulus package with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

“We’re just trying to make sure that he takes it easy but he’s hard at work and will continue to,” she said on Fox.

She declined to say whether Trump would make a national address.

“It’s safe to say that you’ll be seeing and hearing from the president as he moves forward with his working schedule,” she said. “We’re exploring a number of different ways to do that, but he wants to talk to the American people.”

Reporting by Alexandra Alper, Steve Holland and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Diane Craft and Daniel Wallis

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Top Trump Aide Hope Hicks Tests Positive for Coronavirus | Political News

By ZEKE MILLER and JILL COLVIN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Hope Hicks, one of President Donald Trump’s closest aides, has tested positive for the coronavirus after spending time in close proximity to him this week.

Hicks, who serves as counselor to Trump and traveled with him to a rally Wednesday, tested positive Thursday, according to an administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private health information. She is the most senior White House official to test positive so far.

The White House did not immediately respond to multiple questions about the last time Trump was tested and whether he and other staffers who spent time with Hicks in recent days will be asked to quarantine. But it does not appear that Trump intends to. He traveled to New Jersey Thursday for a fundraiser. His social media director Dan Scavino and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who were originally set to join him on the trip, were replaced at the last minute by other aides.

The positive test is yet another reminder that the virus continues to spread, even as Trump has tried desperately to pretend it no longer poses a danger. Since the beginning, he, the White House and his campaign have played down the threat and refused to abide by basic public health guidelines — including those issued by his own administration — such as wearing masks in public and practicing social distancing. Instead, Trump has continued to hold campaign rallies that draw thousands of supporters. The virus has killed more than 200,000 Americans and infected more than 7 million nationwide.

In a statement, White House spokesman Judd Deere said the president “takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously.”

“White House Operations collaborates with the Physician to the President and the White House Military Office to ensure all plans and procedures incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible both on complex and when the President is traveling,” Deere said.

Hicks traveled with the president multiple times this week, including aboard Marine One, the presidential helicopter, and on Air Force One to a rally in Minnesota Wednesday, and aboard Air Force One to Tuesday night’s first presidential debate in Cleveland.

Hicks is one of the president’s most trusted and longest-serving aides, having worked as spokesperson for his 2016 campaign. She originally served as White House as communications director, and re-joined the administration this year as an adviser ahead of the election. Her positive test was first reported by Bloomberg News on Thursday evening. She did not respond to a request for comment.

Multiple White House staffers have tested positive for the virus, including Katie Miller, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, and one of the president’s personal valets.

After earlier positive cases close to the president, the White House instituted a daily testing regimen for the president’s senior aides.

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Ex-White House aide launches ads aimed at getting mothers to vote for Trump

The ad begins with a mother putting her child to bed and watching footage of riots on her cellphone before falling asleep herself and dreaming that Biden and a Democratic Congress have made massive cuts to police funding. Over footage of a protester smashing the window of a minivan with the mother and her child inside, a narrator warns: “They’ll defund police. They’ll disarm you. Don’t let this nightmare come true.”

The effort comes as Trump has seized on a law-and-order message to try to win back the suburban white women who abandoned Republicans in 2018. With national and several battleground state polls showing Trump trailing or tied with Biden, the president in recent weeks has sought to turn public safety into a top campaign issue as some protests against police brutality and racism have turned violent.

“Moms for Safe Neighborhoods came together because a group of concerned mothers saw Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Democrats calling for diverting money from the police and failing to condemn the violence as it entered neighborhoods across the country,” said Anderson, a mother of two. “They banded together to get their message out to moms everywhere, but also because they understand how critical suburban women are to President Trump’s re-election.”

The group’s “grassroots leadership board” has some heavy hitters of female Republicans, including Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America; Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots; GOP lawyer Cleta Mitchell; and former Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.). Three notable politicians’ wives are also on the board: Debbie Meadows, who’s married to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows; Kristen Short, the wife of Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff; and Susan Allen, who’s married to former Virginia Gov. George Allen.

Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action for America, is doing this in her personal time. She previously worked in the Trump White House as associate director for intergovernmental affairs and strategic initiatives at the Office of Management and Budget.

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Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office

A former aide to Vice President Pence said that White House staffers have privately discussed a scenario in which President TrumpDonald John TrumpSteele Dossier sub-source was subject of FBI counterintelligence probe Pelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It ‘isn’t worth the paper it’s signed on’ Trump ‘no longer angry’ at Romney because of Supreme Court stance MORE loses the November election and refuses to leave office.

Olivia Troye — who served on the coronavirus task force and as an adviser to Pence on counterterrorism and homeland security and has since emerged as a top White House critic after leaving the administration — said she held closed-door talks with other staffers while she was on the task force and that she is concerned by recent comments from Trump in which he did not commit to a peaceful transfer of power. 

“It’s frightening to me, because to be honest, during my tenure at the White House, I’ve had conversations behind closed doors with White House staffers and other government officials, including people in the intelligence community, where we’ve actually discussed what if, what if he loses and refuses to leave, or better yet, what if his plan is four more years of Donald Trump should he win, and would he leave after that?” she said on CNN.

The remarks come after an avalanche of criticism over Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the November election. 

“We’re going to have to see what happens, you know, but I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. The ballots are a disaster,” Trump told reporters at a White House briefing Wednesday. 

“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” Trump added when pressed, referring to debunked theories about the susceptibility of mail-in ballots to fraud. “The ballots are out of control. You know it, and you know who knows it better than anyone else? The Democrats know it better than anyone else.” 

Democrats have hammered Trump over the comments, warning that he’s putting the country’s democracy at risk.

“The president when he’s joking, if he says that he’s joking, he’s telling you a half truth,” Troye said. “And in there is something fairly frightening and scary.”

Troye left the administration in August and has used her time outside the White House to tear into Trump’s response to

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White House Attacks Former Pence Aide Who Endorsed Biden

WASHINGTON — Top White House aides on Tuesday escalated their efforts to undermine the credibility of a former senior adviser to Vice President Mike Pence who has endorsed Joseph R. Biden Jr., accusing her of publicly criticizing the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic because she is disgruntled over being fired.

Keith Kellogg, the retired lieutenant general who is national security adviser to Mr. Pence, told reporters that he had recommended removing the aide, Olivia Troye, from her position as the vice president’s top Homeland Security adviser in charge of managing the coronavirus task force.

“The reason I fired her was her performances started to drop after six months working on the task force,” Mr. Kellogg said, calling Ms. Troye a “backbencher” in the administration’s efforts to combat the pandemic.

“She was responsible for coordinating meetings, bringing people together. And when the performance level dropped off,” he said, he went to Mr. Pence “and recommended she leave. I’m the one that escorted her off the compound.”

The comments from Mr. Kellogg and similar criticism of Ms. Troye from Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, were part of an aggressive public relations attempt to denounce and discredit former administration officials who are increasingly speaking out against President Trump.

Miles Taylor, the former chief of staff to Kirstjen Nielsen, the former secretary of homeland security, last week announced a new organization with more than two dozen former administration officials and other Republicans who oppose Mr. Trump’s bid for a second term. Ms. Troye is a member of the group, as is Josh Venable, who served as chief of staff for Betsy DeVos, the secretary of education.

“These are not profiles in courage; these are profiles in cowardice,” Ms. McEnany said on Tuesday during a briefing with reporters.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Ms. Troye disputed Mr. Kellogg’s claim, adding a photo of a ceremonial coin that she said Mr. Kellogg had given her upon her departure.

“Sad that Gen. Kellogg is telling a bald faced lie to protect the President,” she wrote. “I resigned on my own accord & was asked to stay. He never escorted me out. He knows this. I wrote a note thanking all the colleagues who had worked so hard with me in spite of POTUS & I stand by that.”

Mr. Taylor issued a statement on Twitter after the briefing as well, saying: “The truth drives this White House crazy. My feelings aren’t hurt, @PressSec. But you didn’t specifically deny what I’ve said about POTUS. That’s because it’s all real. And y’all are worried about Americans hearing it.”

In an opinion essay posted on CNN’s website on Tuesday, Mr. Taylor praised Ms. Troye for coming forward, adding that senior administration officials had “sung her praises to me repeatedly during her two years at the White House.”

Ms. Troye, a lifelong Republican who had previously served in national security positions in the George W. Bush administration, came forward

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White House tries to play defense with falsehoods about former Pence aide Troye

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: CNN


The White House moved quickly Thursday to try to discredit Olivia Troye, the former aide to Vice President Mike Pence, after she released a video charging that President Donald Trump failed to protect the public from coronavirus and that he only cared about getting reelected.

In a flurry of statements from White House aides and President Donald Trump, the administration sought to paint Troye as a disgruntled, low-level employee who was fired. But in doing so, the White House made a series of misleading and sometimes outright false statements about the role Troye had on the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the circumstances of her departure.

Troye told CNN she left the Trump administration on her own, and that much of the behavior from the President she cited in the video — such as accusing the President of suggesting Covid-19 was a good thing because he wouldn’t have to shake hands with people — was witnessed by others.

The White House denied her claims, and in doing so, downplayed her role. White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said Troye was “never in private meetings with the President,” while White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted Troye “typically sat in the overflow room of task force.”

But there are pictures of Troye sitting behind Trump and Pence at a task force meeting, and a White House aide acknowledged she was “present a few times when the President addressed large groups — like the task force — where dozens of people were present.”

Asked for clarification on defining a “private meeting,” the White House aide said “she’s never met the President, she definitely never briefed the President, and to the best of my knowledge never stepped foot in the Oval and she was never in small meetings with the President.”

But Troye tells CNN much of this is also false. She claims that she has met the President, and that in fact, he asked her who she was in one of the first task force meetings. Troye claims she was present for every meeting when the President joined for calls with governors about Covid-19, and that she was in the Oval Office a few times with task force members, including when Trump asked her boss at the time, the vice president, to lead the task force.

“What I’ve said about him and his behavior was also witnessed by all of these other people because yes, they were in the meetings with me,” Troye told CNN in an interview. “I’m not claiming to be in small meetings with him. And it didn’t take a small meeting to make the President speak freely because he is who he is.”

Trump joined in the attacks on Troye Thursday evening, falsely claiming she had been fired and touting the goodbye letter she sent to colleagues in July.

“We have a letter from her, I was just told, that is absolutely, the most beautiful going away letter. She was terminated. They

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“It Was All About the Election”: The Ex-White House Aide Olivia Troye on Trump’s Narcissistic Mishandling of COVID-19

When I spoke with Olivia Troye on Thursday afternoon, she sounded more than a little scared. She was about to go public with a scorching video, in which she would denounce President Donald Trump and his stewardship of the country during the coronavirus pandemic. Troye, who served as Vice-President Mike Pence’s adviser for homeland security until late July, has witnessed the Administration’s response to the crisis, as Pence’s top aide on the White House coronavirus task force. She had seen Trump rant in private about Fox News coverage as his public-health advisers desperately tried to get him to focus on a disease that has now killed some two hundred thousand Americans. She had decided that Trump was lying to the American public about the disease, and that “words matter, especially when you’re the President of the United States,” and that it was time to speak out. She was nervous and scared and worried for her family and her career. But she plunged ahead anyway.

I asked about her firsthand observation of the President during the crisis. She said that Trump was “disruptive.” That he could not “focus.” That he was consumed by himself and his prospects in November. “For him, it was all about the election,” Troye told me. “He just can’t seem to care about anyone else besides himself.”

Troye joined the coronavirus task force when it was first established, in late January, before any Americans had died from COVID-19. Her experience on it, Troye told me, convinced her that Trump’s handling of the situation—the conscious spreading of disinformation, the disregard for the task force’s work—had made the crisis far worse for Americans. She warned about the President’s push for a vaccine before the November election and said that she did not trust him to do the right thing for the country’s health and safety. “What I’m really concerned about is if they rush this vaccine and pressure people and get something out because they want to save the election,” she said.

Troye is the first White House staff member who has worked on the coronavirus response to speak out publicly against Trump, but the President and the Administration she described were drearily consistent with portraits that have emerged in countless other tell-all interviews and books: a White House riven by backstabbing and suspicion, where trouble flowed from the top and good governance was subordinate to Presidential whim and partisan calculation. She told me she believed that most other staffers on the coronavirus task force were genuinely motivated to help Americans weather the pandemic but that Trump blocked them from implementing the right policies. “Everything that you’re putting in place is derailed not just by a random person—it’s derailed by a No. 1. It’s derailed by the person at the very top,” she said.

Troye described herself to me as a lifelong Republican, whose first job out of college was at the Republican National Committee. On 9/11, she fled her office on foot, walking home past the

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Ex-Pence aide says Trump officials wanted to end coronavirus task force

  • Vice President’s former top aide on the coronavirus task force, told The Washington Post in an interview published Thursday that some senior White House aides wanted to “wind down” the task force in April. 
  • In early May, President Donald Trump announced that he would wind down the coronavirus task force before abruptly reversing course.
  • Olivia Troye left her White House post in August and on Thursday delivered scathing criticism of the president’s pandemic response, accusing him of showing a “flat-out disregard for human life.” 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Olivia Troye, Vice President’s former top aide on the coronavirus task force, told The Washington Post in an interview published Thursday that some senior White House aides wanted to “wind down” the task force at the end of April, even as COVID-19 was surging across the country. 

“In the middle of a pandemic, how could you do that?” she said. 

In early May, President Donald Trump announced that he would wind down the coronavirus task force before abruptly reversing course and declaring the task force would “continue on indefinitely with its focus on SAFETY & OPENING UP OUR COUNTRY AGAIN.” 

“I thought we could wind it down sooner … at a certain point, we won’t need the task force,” Trump told reporters on May 5, adding, “But I had no idea how popular the task force is until actually yesterday when I started talking about winding it down.” 

In both her interview with The Post and a video for the group Republican Voters Against Trump, Troye delivered scathing criticism of Trump’s pandemic response. She argued that the president showed a “flat-out disregard for human life” and that he was more concerned with the economy and his reelection than with protecting Americans.

“The president’s rhetoric and his own attacks against people in his administration trying to do the work, as well as the promulgation of false narratives and incorrect information of the virus have made this ongoing response a failure,” she told The Post. 

Before leaving her post in August, Troye served for two years as a top homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to Pence. She advised the vice president on a range of high-priority issues, including mass shootings, immigration, and hurricanes, and she was deeply involved in the administration’s pandemic response. 

The White House dismissed Troye’s allegations as “flat-out inaccurate.” Pence called his former close aide “one more disgruntled employee who’s left the WH decided to play politics during an election year.” 

When asked about Troye, the president simply responded, “I have no idea who she is, she doesn’t know me.”

A lifelong Republican who also served in President George W. Bush’s administration, Troye says she will vote for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Troye told The Post she regrets not pushing back more on White House officials and policies she disagreed with while she was a staffer.  

“I wished I had been more aggressive in fighting internal forces that were working against the CDC and other policies

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