Last month, when the White House announced that Hope Hicks, a key adviser to President Trump, had tested positive for COVID-19, it kicked off a frantic scramble by administration officials to contain what we've since learned was a massive coronavirus outbreak in the White House. It was so sprawling that it infected the president — possibly the most protected man in the world — along with his wife and a number of high-profile aides, conservative allies, and White House employees alike.
While the White House tried to keep the public in the dark as much as possible about any number pertinent questions raised by the outbreak, including its source, its full effects on the president's health, and even the total number of people infected, it became increasingly clear that the White House's extremely mask-less, extremely unsocially distanced Rose Garden nomination ceremony for now-Justice Amy Coney Barrett was essentially a superspreader event that helped propel the virus's spread through the administration.
An internal Federal Emergency Management Agency memo obtained by ABC News in early October pinpointed at least 34 people connected to the White House who had contracted the virus. Since then, two more outbreaks have roiled the administration, including one a few weeks ago amid Vice President Mike Pence's ranks. With the news that White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows tested positive for coronavirus over the weekend, plus the announcement Monday that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson had also tested positive, it seems now the White House is entering its third coronavirus wave.
Given that both Meadows and Carson were at the Trump election night party Tuesday, reportedly in close quarters and mask-less with dozens of others, it's possible more names will trickle out. In the meantime, here's what we know so far about who in Trump's web has contracted coronavirus.
White House staff
- President Donald Trump
- First lady Melania Trump
- White House Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller
- White House Senior Counselor Hope Hicks
- White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany
- White House Assistant Press Secretary Karoline Leavitt
- White House Assistant Press Secretary Chad Gilmartin
- White House Assistant Press Secretary Harrison Fields
- White House Assistant Press Secretary Jalen Drummond
- White House Security Chief Crede Bailey
- Four unnamed members of White House residence staff
- Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien
- Trump personal assistant Nicholas Luna
- White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows
- Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson
- Pence's chief of staff Marc Short
- Pence adviser Marty Obst
- Pence's bodyman Zach Bauer
- Two additional unnamed members of Pence's staff
Attendees of the Barrett Rose Garden event
- Notre Dame University President John I. Jenkins
- New York Times reporter Michael Shear
- Photojournalist Al Drago
- California megachurch pastor Greg Laurie
- GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah
- GOP Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina
- Former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway
- Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel
- Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Richard Walters
- Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who helped Trump with debate prep
- Coast Guard Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Ray
- Trump campaign adviser Corey Lewandowski
It's entirely possible that we will never know the names of some of those infected in the president's orbit — the White House has consistently been asking people who have tested positive for coronavirus to use "discretion" when revealing their diagnoses.
Still, given the ever-growing list of infectees, the broader picture is abundantly clear: The president and his inner circle have become one of the most dangerous vectors for coronavirus in the country. Their refusal to diligently wear masks — even after the Barrett event became a nexus for the virus — and rely inappropriately on rapid-test results to justify holding reckless gatherings is quite galling, especially with the country on the cusp of another massive spike in cases. With three more months in office for the Trump administration, we're left waiting to see how many more people will suffer as a result of their incompetent and unscientific response to the pandemic.
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