A member of the U.S. military who works in the White House has tested positive of the coronavirus, the White House acknowledged Thursday. According to multiple reports, the person is one of President Trump’s personal valets.
“We were recently notified by the White House Medical Unit that a member of the United States Military, who works on the White House campus, has tested positive for coronavirus,” deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. Gidley added that Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence were tested for the conrovniaus after the valet’s positive test became known. “They remain in great health,” Gidley said.
CNN first reported the positive test, and noted that Trump was “upset” when he learned of the positive test. Or, as one person close to the White House told NBC News, Trump was “lava-level mad” at his staff. The NBC New report also provided more context on how the valet interacts with the president, reporting that the valet serves Trump his meals, among other duties.
Asked about the valet Thursday, Trump said, “I’ve had very little contact, personal contact, with this gentleman,” contradicting reports that the valet is often around the president. The Washington Post reports that the “valet’s positive test set off a scramble at the White House to test all staff and intensify protections around Trump.” To that end, Trump said Thursday that the weekly coronavirus tests being conducted in the White House will be done daily.
There were also renewed discussions about face mask use in the White House, where the sight of the type of masks that have become common around the country is rare. As one White House employee told the Post, “The president sees it as a sign of weakness to wear masks and so people just haven’t been doing it.” The paper also noted that one White House staffer who did wear a mask was laughed at by his colleagues.
But Friday on Fox & Friends, Trump said there will be changes made to the White House mask policy. His valets, who had previously not worn masks, will now.