Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Sunday that the White House would not release the names or the exact number of staff who have been infected with the novel coronavirus – going back to a previous comment by another spokesperson.
McEnany said that due to privacy concerns, the White House would not disclose the number of employees with COVID-19 despite previous assurances from Alyssa Farah – the White House’s director of strategic communications – that the figures would eventually be published.
“There are privacy concerns,” McEnany said. “We take the protection of personnel information here at the White House seriously.”
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McEnany also wouldn’t say whether President Trump – who announced early Friday morning that he and First Lady Melania Trump had contracted the virus – had been tested for the coronavirus before last week’s presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio or before a fundraiser at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey last Thursday.
“I’m not going to give you a detailed read with timestamps every time it’s tested,” she says. “He is tested regularly and the first positive test he received was after returning from Bedminster.”
On Thursday morning, Trump’s senior adviser Hope Hicks tested positive for the virus.
The results came shortly before the President took off at Marine One for fundraising at his golf club.
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Hicks’ diagnosis confirmed that Trump had been in close proximity to someone infected with the virus. This is when you should quarantine yourself, in accordance with public health guidelines. But Trump continued the journey. Not only that, but other people who had also been around Hicks were not immediately notified of his positive test.
The White House worked hard to swap personnel who had been in close contact with Hicks and replace them with others. Spokesman Judd Deere was replaced at the last minute, without being told why. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany did not make the trip. White House officials said they began learning of Hicks’ positive test after Trump boarded Marine One to begin his trip to New Jersey.
Erin McEwan of Fox News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.