National Security Adviser tests positive for COVID-19
The president’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, has tested positive for COVID-19 becoming the highest-ranking administration official to contract the virus.
President Donald Trump says that he has not been in contact recently with his top security adviser. The two were last seen in public on July 10 during a visit to U.S. Southern Command in Miami. O’Brien had also recently traveled to Europe where he met with officials from the UK, France, Germany and Italy.
The White House Communications Office said that O’Brien is experiencing mild symptoms and is self-isolating while still working from a secure location.
The president’s chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told reporters that O’Brien’s daughter had also contracted the virus and that’s how he believes he was infected.
Democrats were quick to go after the president when the news broke. Former Obama official Chris Lu says this is just another example of how Trump is failing in his response to coronavirus.
Other Democrats challenged the fact that the president hadn’t been in contact with his top security adviser recently but that’s actually not all that shocking. O’Brien has not been as active in the role as past security advisers and often delegates tasks to his deputies. He has seldom attended coronavirus taskforce meetings.
Trump has been able to defend not wearing a mask in the White House by saying that everyone that he comes into contact with is tested for COVID-19 daily. O’Brien’s positive test shows just how close to the president the virus has gotten and presents a new set of challenges for the White House in keeping it away from the nation’s top officials.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN that the president’s risk of contracting the virus depends on when O’Brien was infected and the level of his exposure to Trump.
“You have to have contact in a situation where you’re there long enough and close enough to have an increased risk,” Fauci said. “I don’t know the contacts he had, the proper authorities are doing the contact tracing right now.”
Other White House employees to test positive for COVID-19 include the vice president’s communications director, a personal valet to the president, a cafeteria worker and several secret service agents.
Officials say daily testing will continue and that the president remains safe.
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