White House Press Secretary Tests Positive After Exposing Reporters All Week

by Julie Scagell
Oliver Contreras/For The Washington Post/Getty

McEnany is the latest of the Trump administration to test positive for coronavirus

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has tested positive for the coronavirus according to a statement released this morning.

“As an essential worker, I have worked diligently to provide needed information to the American People at this time,” McEnany said in a statement on Twitter. “After testing negative consistently, including every day since Thursday, I tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms. No reporters, producers or members of the press are listed as close contacts by the White House Medical Unit.”

The news comes as President Donald Trump remains hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center with the virus. Others in Trump’s circle who have tested positive include presidential aide Hope Hicks; his campaign manager, Bill Stepien; three Republican U.S. senators; and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who helped Trump prep for last Tuesday’s presidential debate. Nick Luna, the president’s personal assistant, also tested positive.

McEnany briefed reporters while not wearing a mask last Thursday, Oct. 1, and Friday, Oct. 2nd. Hicks announced she tested positive shortly after McEnany’s Thursday briefing. “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. The Oct. 1 briefing was held indoors at the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany holds a press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on October 1, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

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MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski were appalled that McEnany interacted with reporters despite knowing there was a chance she’d been exposed. “Good lord,” Scarborough said. “Are you kidding me?”

“Oh my god,” Brzezinski added. “Stop right there.”

“Wait,” Scarborough said. “She knew before that press conference where she didn’t wear a mask, in front of all of those reporters and had heated exchanges with Fox News reporters?”

On Sunday, Oct. 4, though having been around multiple people in the administration that tested positive, McEnany briefly fielded questions on the White House driveway without wearing a face covering. Three journalists working at the White House already tested positive last week, according to Axios.

The press secretary rarely wore a mask in public despite health experts continuously saying it was one of the most effective ways to limit the spread of the coronavirus. “With my recent positive test, I will begin the quarantine process and will continue working on behalf of the American People remotely,” she concluded her statement.

Many of those who have tested positive, including McEnany, attended the White House event on Sept. 26 when Trump announced Amy Coney Barrett as his pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

Quick reminder exactly how packed Barrett’s nomination event was — and nary a mask in sight.

WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 26: President Trump announces the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his choice for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. The nominee would fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Barrett is a favorite of religious conservatives and is already ­battle-tested after going through a ferocious confirmation fight in 2017 for her seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

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McEnany’s positive test is yet another reminder that anyone who was at any of the events mentioned above or exposed to someone who was there should be self-quarantining to help stop the spread of the virus.

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. 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.”