White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and two of her staffers have tested positive for COVID-19, just days after the president revealed a similar diagnosis. McEnany said she has tested positive “while experiencing no symptoms.”
McEnany, who is one of 12 officials in a growing list of Trumpworld figures to test positive for the highly contagious virus after attending an event at the Rose Garden last Saturday, most recently interacted with reporters on Sunday evening—and was maskless. Multiple news outlets also reported that at least two other members of the White House press shop—Chad Gilmartin and Karoline Leavitt—have tested positive. Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship, who went to a prayer march with Vice President Mike Pence and Franklin Graham before attending the Rose Garden ceremony, announced Monday he has also tested positive for the deadly virus.
“No reporters, producers, or members of the press are listed as close contacts by the White House Medical Unit,” she said in the statement. “As an essential worker, I have worked diligently to provide needed information to the American People at this time. With my recent positive test, I will begin the quarantine process and will continue working on behalf of the American People remotely.”
Top Trump top aide Hope Hicks was confirmed to have the virus on Thursday, just hours before the president himself announced he and the first lady had also contracted it.
While the press secretary does frequently interact with Trump, she did not travel with him to a Thursday fundraiser in New Jersey after learning of Hicks’ positive COVID-19 diagnosis. McEnany, however, stresses she did not know Hicks tested positive when she spoke to reporters Thursday and did not quarantine or self-isolate despite her close contact with the White House adviser and the president.
“I definitively had no knowledge of Hope Hicks’ diagnosis prior to holding a White House press briefing on Thursday,” McEnany wrote Monday.
On Friday, McEnany, 32, appeared on Fox News and removed her mask to interact with reporters on the White House driveway. During her Sunday gaggle with reporters, McEnany reportedly said the White House would not be releasing the number of staffers who have tested positive for COVID-19 because of privacy concerns. She also declined to provide a timeline of Trump’s recent testing schedule.
According to the White House Correspondents Association, at least three journalists who had been at the White House over the last week have tested positive for the coronavirus.
“We wish Kayleigh, the president and everyone else struggling with the virus a swift recovery,” the White House Correspondents Association said in a Monday statement. “As of this moment we are not aware of additional cases among White House journalists, though we know some are awaiting results.”
Ben Williamson, a senior communications adviser at the White House, tweeted Monday in defense of McEnany’s lack of a mask use, stating that, during her last interaction with reporters, the press secretary “briefly removed her mask at the mic to answer questions, was