- Reverend Perry Cleek, the pastor who attended a White House event with President Trump and other officials on July 13, tested positive for COVID-19 a week after the meeting.
- Reverend Cleek was participating in a roundtable focused on US law enforcement after his donations to police officers in his community gained media attention across the country.
- The pastor began to experience symptoms of COVID-19 on July 21, the website of CBS and ABC Tennessee affiliate, WJHL-TV, first reported.
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A pastor in northeastern Tennessee who met with President Donald Trump and other administration officials at the White House on July 13 began to experience symptoms of COVID-19 and tested positive for the virus within a week later.
Reverend Perry Cleek of Lighthouse Missionary Baptist Church in Jonesborough, Tennessee attended the televised roundtable in the presence of President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General William Barr to discuss law enforcement .
The White House invited Reverend Cleek to the event after his donations of $ 1,000 to police officers in his community gained media attention across the country.
The pastor began to experience symptoms of COVID-19 on July 21, the website of CBS and ABC affiliate station in northeast Tennessee, WJHL-TV, first reported. Reverend Cleek said he was tested for the virus before attending the event and said he tested negative at the time, according to the WJHL-TV report.
Reverend Cleek also said he had never been “close” to President Trump while attending the event. Video of the event aired on C-SPAN shows him sitting next to AG Barr. No one at the table – including Rev. Cleek, Trump, Pence and Barr – was wearing a face mask, according to the footage in the video.
The pastor told WJHL-TV he never had a fever, only a cough and a feeling of weakness, and then lost his ability to taste and smell, a symptom associated with the virus.
Read more: If you’ve lost your sense of smell or taste, you could be a ‘hidden carrier’ of the coronavirus
It is not possible to know if Reverend Cleek contracted the virus during the event.
Yet his experience comes as members of the Trump administration and officials close to the government tested positive for COVID-19 even as President Trump tried to downplay the severity of the virus.
Robert O’Brien, the White House national security adviser, tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, Bloomberg reported. In May, a member of the US Navy detailed to the White House who serves as a personal valet for President Donald Trump who tested positive for the virus.
The situation with Reverend Cleek also highlights the risks associated with not wearing a face mask, which health officials say are key to preventing the spread of the coronavirus. His church has canceled in-person services.
“My biggest fear is that I get a phone call for forwarding it to some of our precious old people or even someone in my own family,” Cleek told WJHL-TV, adding that it was a “Serious illness. ”
He is quarantining himself at home and hopes to preach a sermon from a distance, according to the WJHL-TV report.