The outbreak of COVID-19 currently plaguing (excuse the phrase) the Republican Party continues today, as White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has announced she has tested positive for the virus.
“After testing negative consistently, including every day since Thursday, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms,” McEnany said via Twitter. “No reporters, producers, or members of the press are listed as close contacts by the White House Medical Unit.”
“Moreover I definitively had no knowledge of Hope Hicks’ diagnosis prior to holding a White House press briefing on Thursday,” she added.
McEnany has said she will begin the quarantine process and have her health monitored by doctors. She also plans to continue work, holding press briefings from remote locations.
Press Secretary McEnany’s announcement drew immediate backlash, as she had continued to meet with and brief reporters face-to-face while not wearing a mask, thus exposing said press to the virus. CNBC reports that at least three reporters to have visited the White House over the weekend have also tested positive for COVID-19.
McEnany’s announcement makes her the latest in a series of high-ranking Republicans to have contracted COVID-19 in the past few days. The current list includes Donald and Melania Trump, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Senators Mike Lee of Utah, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, Trump’s personal assistant Nick Luna, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, and Trump advisors Kellyanne Conway & Hope Hicks. Attorney General Bill Barr also continues to undergo quarantine procedures following his exposure during the nomination ceremony of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Speculation in the media has centered on Hicks as the “Patient Zero” of this recent outbreak, and the likelihood that all of the aforementioned political figures were exposed during Coney Barrett’s nomination ceremony where few attendees wore masks and no social distancing protocols were followed.