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Trump's inner circle was tested for coronavirus even as he advised public against it

Tests for COVID-19 are in short supply. But those with close ties to Trump have received them anyway, some despite showing zero symptoms.

By Emily Singer - March 30, 2020
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Donald Trump

COVID-19 tests — or the lack thereof — have been a major story since the global pandemic arrived in the United States.

The amount of testing has increased since the first cases emerged in the country. However, with test kits in short supply, not all who want to be tested can get them — and restrictions on eligibility, such as requirements that patients exhibit potential symptoms of COVID-19 before receiving a test, have only limited access further.

Donald Trump and members of his inner circle, by contrast, have had a much easier time getting their hands on tests, even when they showed no symptoms of the virus, which typically include fever, dry cough, and body aches.

Trump’s own comments on March 13 suggested that they shouldn’t have been able to get tested.

“We want to make sure that those who need a test can get a test very safely, quickly, and conveniently,” Trump said in a news conference. “But we don’t want people to take a test if — if we feel that they shouldn’t be doing it. And we don’t want everyone running out and taking. Only if you have certain symptoms.”

Here’s a current list of the members of Trump’s team and inner circle who have had COVID-19 tests so far — many of them as Trump was advising the public against their necessity:

Donald Trump

Trump received a COVID-19 test on March 13 after he interacted at his Mar-a-Lago club with two members of a Brazilian delegation who later tested positive for the virus.

Trump did not show symptoms but was still tested. His test came back negative.

Press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a news release afterward, “One week after having dinner with the Brazilian delegation in Mar-a-Lago, the President remains symptom-free. I have been in daily contact with the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and White House Coronavirus Task Force, and we are encouraging the implementation of all their best practices for exposure reduction and transmission mitigation.”

Melania Trump

Ten days after Trump announced he’d had a COVID-19 test, Grisham revealed that first lady Melania Trump had also had one.

“Mrs. Trump got tested the same night as the President was tested, out of an abundance of caution. The test was negative,” Grisham said on March 23.

Mrs. Trump also did not exhibit any symptoms, and according to her husband was feeling “fine” when she was given the test.

Ivanka Trump

Like her father and stepmother, first daughter Ivanka Trump, who also serves as a senior adviser to the president, had a test, despite not exhibiting any symptoms.

She was tested in early March after she met with an Australian official who had the virus, the Hill reported.

Mike Pence and Karen Pence

After one of Pence’s aides tested positive for COVID-19, Vice President Mike Pence also received a test — despite not showing symptoms. It is not known whether Karen Pence had symptoms when she was given a test.

“Pleased to report that the COVID-19 test results came back negative for both Vice President @Mike_Pence and Second Lady @KarenPence,” Pence press secretary Katie Miller tweeted on March 21.

Former White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney

Mulvaney, who was relieved of his duties as acting chief of staff on March 6, had not one but two COVID-19 tests.

The first was in late February, before he was scheduled to accompany Trump on a state trip to India. At the time, Mulvaney was feeling sick, according to the Washington Post, but he tested negative for the virus.

Mulvaney was tested again in March after it was revealed his niece was at Mar-a-Lago with the Brazilian delegation members who tested positive for the virus.

Mulvaney has called the coronavirus outbreak a media-driven plot to hurt Trump’s 2020 reelection bid.

Incoming chief of staff Mark Meadows

Meadows, a GOP lawmaker who is set to resign from his House seat on Monday to take over for Mulvaney, also had a COVID-19 test despite showing no symptoms.

He had the test after coming in contact with an attendee at the Conservative Political Action Conference who had the virus.

Meadows tested negative.

Coronavirus task force member Deborah Birx

Birx had a COVID-19 test at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on March 21.

At the time she had a low-grade fever and gastrointestinal symptoms — which under testing guidelines wouldn’t make her a candidate for a COVID-19 test. Yet she received one.

“So, actually, probably a GI thing, but, you know, I’m meticulous. I’m a physician. I looked it up. I ended up piggybacking from Walter Reed. So I got a test late Saturday night, and I’m negative,” Birx said at a March 23 news conference.

As Birx revealed at the press conference that she had been tested, Trump jokingly jumped away from her.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham

Count Grisham among the White House aides who received a COVID-19 test after her contact with the Brazilian delegation officials who tested positive for the virus.

Grisham self-quarantined for two weeks, and ultimately tested negative for COVID-19.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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