Trump’s personal valet tests positive for coronavirus

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President Donald Trump said on Thursday that both he and Vice President Mike Pence tested negative for coronavirus after they were informed that a member of the U.S. military who works at the White House had tested positive.

The president told reporters in the Oval Office that he had “very little contact, personal contact” with the person, who a White House official told POLITICO was one of the president’s personal valets.

Hogan Gidley, the principal deputy press secretary, would not confirm that the person was a valet, but said in a statement: “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. The President and the Vice President have since tested negative for the virus and they remain in great health.”

Pence told reporters that he, the president and White House staffers who come into contact with Trump would now be tested every day. But the president cast doubt on the effectiveness of frequent testing, saying, “No matter what you do, testing is not a perfect art. … Even when you test once a day, somebody could — something happens where they catch something.”

A CNN report on the diagnosis noted that the valet’s positive test came Wednesday, one day after the president traveled to Arizona to visit a Honeywell facility for N95 face mask production. The president was again in close contact with multiple individuals on Wednesday, including an event with nurses and a meeting with Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa, both of which were covered by the White House press pool.

The president has two valets in the Oval Office and three in the residence, according to a former White House official. Valets who work in the Oval provide anything Trump requests, such as coffee, food or whatever else he might need during the day. The president can call this valet whenever he wants using a button, making frequent daily interaction common.

The valets in the residence do his laundry, iron his attire for the day and pack his suitcases, the former official said. These employees also interact regularly with the president, delivering his newspaper or any other messages he might need. The valets are told to give him his space and not touch him since he doesn’t like that, according to the official.

Judd Deere, another White House spokesman, said in a statement: “The President’s physician and White House Operations continue to work closely to ensure every precaution is taken to keep the President, First Family and the entire White House Complex safe and healthy at all times. In addition to social distancing, daily temperature checks and symptom histories, hand sanitizer, and regular deep cleaning of all work spaces.”

In early April, White House doctors began giving rapid coronavirus tests to people “in close proximity” to the president and vice president. This is not the president’s first scare with exposure to the virus, which was also confirmed in Brazilian government officials who visited Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida earlier this year.


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