February 24, 2021

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Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tests positive for coronavirus

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Monday that she has tested positive for the coronavirus, a diagnosis that comes as President Donald Trump remains hospitalized with the virus.

McEnany is the thirteenth in the White House, or connected to Trump’s re-election campaign or a White House House who has tested positive for Covid-19 since last Thursday.

“After testing negative consistently, including every day since Thursday, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms,”  McEnany said in a statement that she posted on Twitter.

“No reporters, producers, or members of the press are listed as close contacts by the White House Medical Unit.”

The other people connected to Trump and recent White House events who have tested positive since Thursday are Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, former New Jersey govenor Chris Christie, three Republican senators, Mike Lee of Utah, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, as well as Nick Luna, the president’s personal assistant, along with University of Notre Dame President  John Jenkins.

McEnany, who is married with a daugher born last November, gave a briefing to reporters at the White House last Thursday, hours before Trump’s advisor Hope Hicks was revealed to have tested positive for Covid-19. Trump’s diagnosis, and that of his wife, first lady Melania Trump, was revealed shortly after Hicks’ diagnosis became public.

“I definitively had no knowledge of Hope Hicks’ diagnosis prior to holding a White House press briefing on Thursday,” McEnany wrote in her Twitter post.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany takes off her face covering before speaking with reporters outside the West Wing of the White House on October 2, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for coronavirus.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images News | Getty Images

“As an essential worker, I have worked diligently to provide needed information to the American People at this time,” she wrote.

“With my recent positive test, I will begin the quarantine process and will continue working on behalf of the American People remotely.”

In White House circles, McEnany has become a symbol of how closely held the early diagnoses of Covid-19 were among high-ranking officials.

While Hicks tested positive for the coronavirus early Thursday, McEnany was not immediately informed of the diagnosis, nor that she herself had been exposed to the virus, until Thursday evening, when press reports began to emerge about Hicks.

A senior White House official tells NBC News that McEnany was pulled from the group accompanying Trump to his golf club in Bedminster, NJ, last Thursday, but was not told why.

This official said McEnany did not learn until later that afternoon that HIcks had tested positive that day.

In the hours between Hicks’ positive test and when McEnany learned of it, she briefed the press in the White House briefing room, while not wearing a mask.

Melania Trump’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham, who preceded McEnany as White House press secretary, declined to comment on McEnany’s disclosure Monday.

McEnany told reporters on Saturday that she had tested negative, and she was seen wearing a mask on White House grounds on Friday when the president was moved to Walter Reed Military Medical Center.

But on Sunday, she removed her mask in order to tape an appearance on Fox News. She removed it again moments afterwards to speak to reporters gathered on the White House North Lawn.

At least three journalists who were at the White House over the past week have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the White House Correspondents Association.

As of Sunday night, the White House had not reached out to any of the infected correspondents to conduct contact tracing.

Ben Williamson, senior communications advisor at the White House, tweeted Monday about McEnany’s lack of a mask at , “For those asking about this: @PressSec briefly removed her mask at the mic to answer questions, was there for two questions and only 58 seconds (would not constitute ‘sustained contact’ per the CDC [Centers for Disease Control]), and was socially distanced from reporters in the area

White House Correspondents’ Association President Zeke Miller said in a statement, “We wish Kayleigh, the president and everyone else struggling with the virus a swift recovery.”

“As of this moment we are not aware of additional cases among White House journalists, though we know some are awaiting test results,” Miller said. “We strongly encourage our members to continue following CDC guidance on mask-wearing and distancing — especially when at the White House — and urge journalists to seek testing if they were potentially exposed.”

– Additional reporting by CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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