Top Trump officials sidelined after exposure to coronavirus

US Kuwait
Posted at 8:12 AM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 10:12:53-05

Two members of President Trump's Cabinet, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, are currently in quarantine due to the coronavirus, with Bernhardt testing positive for COVID-19 and Pompeo coming into contact with an unidentified person who was infected with the illness.

Both Bernhardt, 51, and Pompeo, 56, were absent from a Cabinet meeting the president held at the White House on Wednesday.

A State Department spokesperson said Pompeo was "identified as having come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19."

"For reasons of privacy we can't identify that individual," the spokesperson said in a statement. "The secretary has been tested and is negative. In accordance with CDC guidelines, he will be in quarantine. He is being closely monitored by the department's medical team."

Bernhardt, meanwhile, tested positive Wednesday and is asymptomatic, the Interior Department said. He is quarantining and following CDC guidelines, and the agency is cleaning work spaces and identifying close contacts regarding his diagnosis.

Bernhardt is the latest high-ranking member of the Trump administration to test positive for COVID-19. In addition to Mr. Trump, who contracted the virus in October and spent three days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson also were infected with COVID-19. Carson said he was "desperately ill" but has recovered.

A slew of White House staffers and Mr. Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, have, also tested positive for the coronavirus.