One of US President Donald Trump’s personal valets has tested positive for coronavirus, kicking off an orgy of media speculation even as the White House struggled to clamp down on rumors about the president’s exposure.
The Trump valet, who serves in the US Navy, tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday after showing symptoms that morning, according to CNN, which reported the news on Thursday. The White House has confirmed the report, adding that both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence subsequently tested negative for the virus “and they remain in great health.”
Trump has crossed paths with infected individuals before, each time sparking a frenzy of speculation from his media nemeses that he might contract the virus. In March, he shared a table with – and was photographed next to – the communications secretary for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. The Brazilian official tested positive just a few days after Bolsonaro’s delegation visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago. The following day, Brazilian ambassador to the US Nestor Forster also tested positive for the virus. However, Trump escaped from his Brazilian encounter with negative test results, according to the White House.
A Pence staffer also tested positive for the virus in late March, though the vice president’s press secretary emphasized that neither Trump nor Pence had had “close contact” with that individual. At least one lawmaker – Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R) – has tested positive for the virus, though Paul claimed not to have any symptoms and has since announced he is fully recovered.
The US Department of Defense has banned all coronavirus survivors from joining the armed forces absent a special waiver, according to a document circulated earlier this week.