President Donald Trump confirmed on Wednesday that a White House employee tested positive for the coronavirus.
But the nameless person who contracted the disease had no “influence” on the grand personal meeting with a number of world leaders that took place the day before on the South White House lawn, Trump spokeswoman assured.
Earlier in the day, questions about another Covid-19 infection had surfaced at the White House when a journalist there reported that he had heard of “some positive results today”
At a briefing, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany declined to comment on whether employees tested positive, saying, “I am not sharing people’s personal medical information.”
But Trump, speaking at a press conference in the White House briefing room Tuesday night, was more willing to discuss what he had been told.
“I heard about it on a very small level this morning,” Trump began. But moments later he said, “I first heard about this last night, and it’s a small number of cases.”
Then he asked McEnany, who was sitting next to the dais, what she could share.
“We will not confirm the identity,” she said, “but it did not affect the event and the press was not around” the infected person.
“And there was no one around me,” added Trump.
McEnany told Trump that only one person tested positive for the virus. “It was a person,” Trump repeated, adding, “not a person I was connected to.”
On Tuesday, the White House held a ceremony on its southern lawn to sign agreements formalizing diplomatic relations between Israel and two Arab Gulf states. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally attended the event along with the leaders of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
CNN and other outlets noted that the solemn gathering appeared to disregard most of the social distancing measures recommended by public health experts, including many members of the Trump administration.
Others who work in the White House have previously tested positive. In May it became known that a personal servant for Trump, who among other things serves his meals to the president, had contracted the virus.
That same month, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller also tested positive.