WASHINGTOvN — A member of Vice President Mike Pence’s staff tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday — just two days after a close aide to President Trump was found to be infected.
The news broke shortly after Air Force Two’s departure to Iowa from Joint Base Andrews was delayed as multiple staffers deplaned. Pence remained on the plane for the trip to Des Moines.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany confirmed the infection at a press briefing and assured reporters that measures are in effect to keep the virus from spreading among staff.
“We have put in place the guidelines that our experts have put forward to keep this building safe, which means contact tracing — all of the recommended guidelines we have for businesses that have essential workers we are now putting in place here in the White House,” she said. “So as America reopens safely, the White House is continuing to operate safely.”
Pence and Trump were retested for COVID-19 this week after a personal valet to Trump tested positive for the virus.
The valet, a member of the US Navy who is regularly in the West Wing and works as a personal assistant to Trump, began experiencing symptoms of the virus before testing positive on Wednesday.
A Pence aide previously tested positive for the virus in March as infections soared in the US. That aide had not been in close contact with the vice president, a spokesperson said.
Aides and journalists close to Pence and Trump are tested regularly for the virus using a rapid-results Abbott test that uses nasal swab samples.
After Trump’s valet tested positive, the White House said Trump and Pence will be tested every day.