Mark Meadows, the chief of staff to President Trump, has tested positive for the coronavirus, multiple news organizations reported late Friday night. He is the latest person in the president’s inner circle to catch the virus, which is surging across the country.
Meadows was last seen by reporters on election night, when Trump gave a defiant speech to supporters packed into the East Room of the White House. Meadows walked into the room ahead of Trump’s adult children just ahead of his remarks.
A spokesman for the White House declined comment. The news comes as President Trump remains in a tight race for reelection, with Democratic nominee Joe Biden just shy of winning.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
Meadows is one of many Trump White House and campaign aides to contract the virus. President Trump himself was hospitalized for COVID-19 in October. First lady Melania Trump and their son Barron also had the virus.
Cases are hitting new records across the U.S. and the country is now averaging more than 94,000 cases a day, double where it was a month ago.
Meadows, who infrequently wore face masks, traveled extensively with Trump in the late stages of his campaign as he raced across swing states. He was seen in close quarters with most of Trump’s senior staff as well as with Vice President Mike Pence. He also joined Trump for an Election Day visit to Trump’s campaign headquarters in Arlington, Va..
Trump has long undermined guidance even from his own administration regarding pandemic protocols, including social distancing and mask-wearing. The president continued to hold massive campaign rallies where most supporters packed close together and did not wear masks.
Biden made the coronavirus pandemic central to his campaign and his argument against Trump. In a speech Friday evening, Biden said he and running mate Kamala Harris had already begun planning for the months ahead and how to combat the virus, expecting the presidency to eventually be declared for him.
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