32 Sickened In White House COVID-19 Outbreak As 4th Press Shop Aide Tests Positive

Update (1730ET): CNN and NYT have just reported that a 4th White House press aide has tested positive for COVID-19. That individual is at least the 32nd person to test positive in the White House outbreak (which right now doesn't include the joint chiefs, who have all tested negative and are quarantingin at home).

If accurate, that's at least the 31st person to test positive who is connected to the White House outbreak.

Here's the complete list:

  • Donald Trump
  • Melania Trump, first lady
  • Hope Hicks, senior adviser to the president
  • Bill Stepien, Trump campaign manager
  • Chris Christie, former New Jersey governor who helped Trump prepare for debate
  • Kellyanne Conway, former White House senior adviser
  • Ronna McDaniel, Republican National Committee chairwoman
  • Mike Lee, Republican senator from Utah
  • Thom Tillis, Republican senator from North Carolina
  • Ron Johnson, Republican senator from Wisconsin
  • Nick Luna, Trump’s personal attendant
  • Kayleigh McEnany, press secretary
  • Chad Gilmartin, White House press office
  • Karoline Leavitt, White House press office
  • Jalen Drummond, assistant press secretary
  • Charles Ray, vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard
  • Jayna McCarron, Coast Guard aide to the president
  • 11 staffers from Cleveland debate
  • Anonymous 4th press ship aide
  • 3 White House reporters

McCarron's illness was reported earlier on Tuesday. In addition, a top Coast Guard commander has also been sickened (in an unrelated incident, it seems) sending the others into quarantine.

With Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and four of her staffers out, we can't help but wonder: who is left on the comms team depth chart?

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Update (1315ET): AG Barr has tested negative once again, according to the administration, strongly suggesting that he managed to avoid the coronavirus "super-spreader" that has infected 11 people who attended the Amy Coney Barrett nomination ceremony late last month

In other news, somebody within Trump's orbit is leaking damaging information to the press, which is already starting with reports that President Trump wants to get back in the Oval Office, immediately.

His aides are pushing back against the demand.

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Update (1250ET): With the number sickened in the White House climbing to 30 on Tuesday, President Trump's doctors held another press briefing to update the public on the president's condition (and hopefully squeeze the market higher).

In a memo, Dr. Sean Conley claimed Trump is showing no symptoms of the virus on Tuesday following his first night out of the hospital.

"This morning the President’s team of physicians met with him in the Residence," Dr. Conley wrote in the memo, his latest update on Trump’s condition, and first since the briefing that preceded Trump's Monday exit from Walter Reed.

“He had a restful first night at home, and today he reports no symptoms,” Conley wrote. Trump’s "vital signs and physical exam remain stable,” Conley wrote. “Overall he continues to do extremely well."

Trump, meanwhile, has been tweeting away, alternating between attacks on the press, and thanking his supporters.

Meanwhile, ABC News reports that at least 11 cases of COVID-19 have been traced to Amy Coney Barrett's nomination unveiling. The press still hasn't reported anything about when we can expect to see Trump in public again, though leaked reports earlier suggested he was mulling the idea of making a national address.

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Update (1100ET): Trump has sent a few more tweets as he recuperates in the residence.

With the presidential schedule blank, we imagine we'll be seeing a lot of tweets.

Additionally, it seems NBC News has also confirmed that an anonymous "military aide" has tested positive after contact with Trump.

* * *

NYT White House reporter Maggie Haberman, who has spent the last 4 days relentlessly chronicling every update in the White House COVID-19 outbreak saga, including Trump's 72-hour stay at Walter Reed, has just reported that Trump is considering giving a nationwide address on Tuesday.

Haberman, who also reported that Trump still sounds "short of breath", citing close aides who still speak with him regularly, linked to a report from the NYT which claimed that a "culture of panic" had replaced the "culture of negligence" at the White House. She described the comms shop as "bereft of people", since the outbreak has taken out both McEnany and some of her top aides.

She added that while Trump stays in the residence, the West Wing has been virtually empty as most White House staffers are working from, either because they have caught the virus, or have been in close contact with somebody who has. She added that the White House "resembled a ghost town" again on Tuesday.

She also confirmed a CNN report claiming another White House aide had tested positive, raising the total infected to an even 30.

Meanwhile, President Trump returned to Twitter Tuesday morning to attack Biden and the Democrats for their support of late-term abortion...

...before reiterating his comments from last night in a tweet where he urged Americans not to be afraid of the virus and insisted "we have learned to live with it".

According to one source on Twitter, the US hasn't counted more than 100,000 flu deaths since 1968. Still, Trump's point that such outbreaks aren't "unprecedented" stands.