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With scientists warning of the long-term effects from the coronavirus, the fact that so many prominent Republicans have been diagnosed with the virus should be of concern for the party.
With total COVID-19 cases in the United States surpassing 15.5 million and total deaths approaching 300,000, the Trump administration continues to receive criticism for its handling of the pandemic. In recent months, President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans have repeatedly insisted the liberal media is fearmongering over the virus and that it isn’t as serious as they make it out to be.
Ironically, Trump knows firsthand how bad the virus can be: he was diagnosed with COVID-19 back in October and was rushed to Walter Reed Medical Center for emergency treatment. He isn’t alone, either. Over a dozen close allies and family members have reportedly been diagnosed with the virus.
With scientists warning of the long-term effects from the coronavirus (sometimes referred to as “long Covid”), the fact that so many prominent Republicans have been diagnosed with the virus should be of concern for the party.
This is the timeline of Trump’s close contacts and allies who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
March 14: Trump tests negative for COVID-19
In March, as nations around the world began taking drastic action to counteract the spreading pandemic and the US barred European travelers from entering the country, Trump had his first coronavirus scare. Fábio Wajngarten, the press secretary for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, had tested positive for the virus after Trump dined with both him and Bolsonaro.
After being tested for the virus, Trump’s results came back negative. Furthermore, his doctor said he had no symptoms of the virus. It was a close call, with some at the time expressing skepticism over Trump’s negative diagnosis. Trump has received regular COVID-19 tests throughout the pandemic.
May 6: Trump’s valet tests positive
Trump once again had a close call in early May when one of his personal valets tested positive for the virus. The man, who was not named, was a member of the US Navy and part of the team of elite military members who serve alongside the president.
Both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence tested negative after the valet was diagnosed. Since the valet was never identified, it is unknown how severe his condition got or if he returned to duty after recovering.
June 21: Secret Service personnel
Following a mid-June Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, it was reported that dozens of US Secret Service members were self-isolating after two had tested positive. It wasn’t the only time members of the Secret Service, which is charged with ensuring the president’s safety, have tested positive. However, it was the first time it was linked to a Trump campaign event.
Six members of the Secret Service had tested positive prior to the rally.
In the week after the November presidential election, The Washington Post reported that more than 130 officers were ordered to self-isolate because they had either tested positive for the coronavirus or were in contact with colleagues who had. Since March, over 300 Secret Service personnel have had to isolate or quarantine because of confirmed or possible infection.
June 29: Herman Cain
It was announced on July 2 that Herman Cain, a successful businessman and former GOP presidential candidate, had been hospitalized due to COVID-19. Cain had previously expressed his opposition to mask mandates. He was a supporter of Trump’s and had attended the president’s indoor Tulsa rally prior to being infected.
Cain, who had previously survived cancer, remained in the hospital for weeks before passing away on July 30. He was 74 years old.
July 3: Kimberly Guilfoyle
Prior to Trump’s Fourth of July rally, Kimberly Guilfoyle tested positive. Guilfoyle is the girlfriend of the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and is a former host on Fox News. Trump had not been in contact with Guilfoyle and Trump Jr. reportedly tested negative. Guilfoyle had been campaigning for Trump and was supposed to be at his Independence Day rally which took place at Mount Rushmore.
July 27: Robert O’Brien
In late July, Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, became the first high-ranking member of Trump’s White House to test positive for COVID-19. In a statement, the administration said O’Brien had mild symptoms and was “self-isolating and working from a secure location off-site.”
O’Brien, who is the sixth man to serve as Trump’s national security adviser, recovered and continues to serve in the position.
September 30: Ronna McDaniel
The chairwoman of the Republican National Convention, Ronna McDaniel, tested positive on September 30. Her diagnosis wasn’t reported until October 2 and by then the story was mostly buried by other soon-to-be reported infections. Still, McDaniel had regular contact with Trump during the campaign and had just previously been at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private resort in Florida.
October 1: Hope Hicks
October had a chain of diagnoses in Trump’s orbit that started with Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s closest aides. Hicks briefly served as the White House press secretary and also worked directly with Trump at the Trump Organization.
Trump announced that Hicks had been diagnosed via a tweet late in the night on October 1. He added, “The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!”
October 2: Donald and Melania Trump
A couple of hours after Hicks’ diagnosis was reported, Trump announced, again via Twitter, that he and his wife, Melania, had tested positive.
Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis led to a rash of conspiracy theories and uncertain reporting as his personal doctors provided unclear information on his condition. Trump was flown by helicopter to Walter Reed Medical Center and treated with Remdesivir and Dexamethasone. Less than four days after entering the hospital, Trump returned to the White House, apparently fully recovered.
Melania’s condition was not widely covered by the press, but she was reportedly still recovering from the infection on October 20 and canceled a campaign appearance as a result. Melanie also revealed that their son, Barron, had previously tested positive for the virus.
October 2: Kellyanne Conway, Chris Christie, Bill Stepien
Following the positive tests of Trump and his wife, multiple close associates of the president also received positive tests later in the day. They included Kellyanne Conway, a former White House counselor and personal adviser to Trump, Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey and a close Trump ally, and Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager.
October 5: Kayleigh McEnany
The White House infection continued to spread. On the Monday after Trump tested positive, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced she had tested positive after having previously tested negative multiple times.
McEnany, who joined the administration last spring, has had a contentious relationship with the White House Press corps, including a September clash with CNN after she claimed that Trump had not downplayed the virus. This came after the release of an audio interview between Trump and journalist Bob Woodward in which the president said “I always wanted to play it down.”
October 6: Stephen Miller
White House adviser Stephen Miller, who is considered the architect of Trump’s immigration policy, announced he had tested positive on October 6. In a statement, Miller said he had been self-isolating for five days prior to testing positive. His wife, Katie Miller, who is the communications director for Vice President Pence, tested positive back in May.
November 6: Mark Meadows
With election results still being tabulated, it was reported on November 6 that White House chief of Staff Mark Meadows had tested positive, though the actual day of diagnosis was unknown. Meadows is Trump’s fourth chief of staff and took on the position just as the pandemic was beginning. He was at Trump’s campaign headquarters on election night and was not wearing a mask.
November 7: Matt Gaetz
On November 7, Politico reported that Republican House Representative Matt Gaetz had “told multiple people on Capitol Hill and in the White House that he too had contracted the virus.” Gaetz responded to the report on Twitter by stating the story was false, saying “I have the antibodies, not the virus.” To get the antibodies without a vaccine, a person must have at some point had the virus.
In late November, Forbes reported that 70% of the members of Congress who had contracted the virus were Republicans. That included all eight Senators who had reportedly tested positive and 16 members of the House. Nine congressional Democrats, all in the House, have tested positive so far.
November 9: Ben Carson, David Bossie
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was yet another close Trump ally and former Republican presidential candidate to test positive. He was tested after experiencing symptoms but was discharged later that day.
Around the same time Carson’s diagnosis was being reported, it was also revealed that David Bossie, a campaign adviser, had also tested positive for COVID-19. Bossie had only days earlier been picked to lead the campaign’s post-election legal fights.
November 11: Corey Lewandowski
Through November, Trump’s campaign continued to be struck by COVID-19. Corey Lewandowski, one of Trump’s 2016 campaign managers and a campaign adviser in 2020, was diagnosed a week after Election Day. Lewandowski had been on the ground in Philadelphia where Trump’s legal team was attempting to have the election results overturned.
November 16: Donald Trump Jr.
On November 21, it was reported that Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., had tested positive “at the start of the week.” His spokesperson said he was asymptomatic and was quarantined at his cabin. Trump Jr. later confirmed his diagnosis via an Instagram post. He was the second of Trump’s children, after Barron, to contract the virus.
December 6: Rudy Giuliani
Trump’s personal lawyer and one of the key figures in the president’s attempts to overturn the election, Rudy Giuliani, was admitted to Georgetown University Hospital after testing positive. Initially, Trump announced the diagnosis, but Giuliani confirmed it in a tweet, stating, “I’m getting great care and feeling good. Recovering quickly and keeping up with everything.”
It has been reported that Giuliani received the same drug treatment that Trump was given when he was in the hospital.
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