UPDATED with details and video: President Donald Trump said that Katie Miller, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, tested positive for coronavirus. She is married to Stephen Miller, one of Trump’s closest advisers, and is the second Pence aide to test positive.
The revelation raises questions about potential exposure to Trump and Pence, as well as other members of their inner circles.
Earlier on Friday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany confirmed that a member of Pence’s staff tested positive for coronavirus, but she did not identify who it was. Later, Trump said during a roundtable with congressional Republicans at the White House that the staff member was “a wonderful young woman, Katie,” on Pence’s press team. “She tested very good for a long period of time then all of a sudden today she tested positive.” The president added, “She hasn’t come into contact with me,” although “she spent some time with the vice president.”
“The tests are perfect but something could happen,” Trump said.
See Trump make the comments below.
Shortly after Trump said “Katie” had tested positive, CBS’ Paula Reid – whom Trump recently compared unfavorably to classic sitcom mom Donna Reed – tweeted, “Katie Miller is VP spox & wife of WH adviser Stephen Miller. Entire West Wing has now been directly or indirectly exposed to COVID-19.”
Many more reporters were wearing face masks in the briefing room, a day after it was revealed that one of Trump’s personal valets tested positive for the virus. Trump and Pence took subsequent tests that came out negative, the White House said. On a call to Fox & Friends on Friday, Trump said that he was in the same room with the valet on Tuesday but does not recall any direct contact with the staffer, who is a member of the U.S. Navy.
Zeke Miller, reporter for the Associated Press, had asked McEnany why the average American should feel comfortable going to work if the “the White House isn’t even safe for people.”
She said that the guidelines they are recommending for businesses “we are now putting in place here in the White House. So as America reopens safely, the White House is continuing to operate safely.”
Even so, given the incidents of COVID-19 at the White House, ABC News’ chief White House correspondent Jon Karl asked whether Trump gave any consideration to wearing a mask when he visited the World War II Memorial, where he was joined by veterans in their 90s who were marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
“Did he consider wearing a mask while he was with these veterans?” Karl said.
McEnany replied, “This President is regularly tested. This President will make the decision whether to wear a mask or not. I can tell you that those veterans are protected. They made the choice to come here because they have chosen to put the nation first. They wanted to be with the commander in chief on this momentous day. It was their choice to come here, and I can tell you that the President always puts the safety of our veterans first and of the American people first.”
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