White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has tested positive for Covid-19, becoming the latest official in President Donald Trump’s inner circle hit by the virus as cases explode across the nation.
The president’s top aide is among a group of at least three officials working for Trump who tested positive in recent days, according to two people familiar with the matter. The latest cases represent the third high-profile outbreak at the White House in the past six weeks, after one that hit the president’s top aides and Trump himself into early October and another that infected top aides to Vice President Mike Pence late last month.
It’s unclear when Meadows was diagnosed. He appeared mask-less at campaign headquarters with Trump and advisers on Election Day. He was with the president, first family, Cabinet secretaries and other high-profile guests in the White House residence that night. Then he was at the president’s speech in the East Room just after 2:30 a.m., interacting with dozens of aides and allies. Later Wednesday, Meadows huddled with campaign advisers to plot a path forward at the Trump 2020 headquarters in Virginia.
A top aide to the chief of staff was among those in the White House who tested positive. The Trump campaign’s director of battleground strategy, Nick Trainer, also tested positive, according to three people familiar with the matter. Campaign aides who were in contact with Meadows and other aides have been asked to take Covid-19 tests on Saturday.
Meadows has been among the leading officials guiding the nation’s response to the pandemic since the former congressman stepped into his new role in the spring. He was at the president’s side a month ago at Walter Reed medical center after Trump contracted the coronavirus. Throughout the year, he’s been one of the key officials advising Trump to focus publicly on other matters after the early months of the pandemic.
Meadows last week drew criticism when he said the U.S. would not be able to control a pandemic that has now killed 230,000 Americans. “We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas,” Meadows said.
His case, first reported late Friday by Bloomberg News, came as the U.S. sets new daily records for coronavirus cases, topping 125,000 on Friday according to one prominent tally.
The Meadows diagnosis comes five weeks after the president, first lady, top adviser Hope Hicks, three senators and more than a dozen other people tested positive in the days after a White House Rose Garden event in which Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. An outbreak in Pence’s inner circle followed weeks later that included his chief of staff, Marc Short, and a top political aide, among others.
Dan Diamond contributed to this report.
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