Who Has Coronavirus in Trump's Circle? Contact Tracing the President - Rolling Stone
Home Politics Politics News

Contact Tracing Trump: A Guide to Who in the President’s Circle Has (or Could Have) Covid-19

Following Trump’s announcement that he tested positive for the coronavirus, White House staff and others who have been in contact with the president are getting tested for the disease

CLEVELAND, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 29:  U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump on stage after the first presidential debate between Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. This is the first of three planned debates between the two candidates in the lead up to the election on November 3. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on stage after the first presidential debate at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29th, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump returned to the White House on Monday after spending the weekend at Walter Reed Medical Center following his positive Covid-19 diagnosis. Though the president tweeted Tuesday that he’s “FEELING GREAT,” his health status remains a mystery, and a growing number of people he’s been in contact with directly or indirectly have either tested positive or entered quarantine. This shouldn’t be surprising considering Trump’s movements in the days prior to his positive diagnosis.

One week before he announced he and the first lady were Covid-positive, Trump presided over a crowded ceremony at the White House celebrating his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. That night, he was in Pennsylvania for a rally. He held an in-person press conference on Sunday before hosting a reception for Gold Star Families at the White House. On Tuesday, he flew to Cleveland to debate Joe Biden. A day later, he was in Duluth, Minnesota, to speak at a rally attended by mostly maskless supporters. On Thursday, he attended a fundraiser in New Jersey where he reportedly came into contact with more than 100 people.

In other words, the president of the United States could very well be a superspreader of the deadly virus he’s been downplaying for months — and is continuing to downplay despite his hospitalization.

Here’s what we know so far about the infection status of those close to the president:

President Trump and Melania Trump

Status: Tested positive. Trump tweeted Thursday night that he and the first lady were awaiting test results following the news that White House adviser Hope Hicks tested positive. Two hours later, Trump tweeted that both he and the first lady tested positive.

Trump was reportedly experiencing mild symptoms early Friday, but by Friday afternoon he was experiencing fever, cough, nasal congestion, and other symptoms, according to the Washington Post. He was transferred to Walter Reed Hospital that evening. As of Saturday, the president’s condition is unclear. White House physician Sean Conley said Saturday morning that Trump was “doing very well.” Chief of Staff Mark Meadows struck a different tone, telling the Associated Press that after a “very concerning” Friday, the next 48 hours “will be critical.”

“We’re still not on a clear path yet to a full recovery,” Meadows said.

Two days later, Trump returned to the White House. Upon arrival, he dramatically removed his mask before posting a video to his Twitter account in which he implored followers to not let the virus “dominate” their lives. As of Tuesday, over 210,000 Americans have died from complications related to Covid-19.

Contact: Despite coming into contact with Hicks, who began experiencing symptoms on Wednesday before testing positive Thursday morning, Trump attended a fundraiser later on Thursday. He reportedly interacted with around 100 people at the event. According to The New York Times, one attendee said the president seemed “lethargic.”

Hope Hicks

Status: Tested positive. Hicks reportedly began experiencing symptoms Wednesday and reportedly tested positive for the virus on Thursday morning. Her infection was initially reported by Bloomberg News, not the White House.

Contact: Though she began experiencing symptoms on Wednesday, the White House adviser could have contracted the virus earlier this week. She had recently traveled with several members of the president’s circle, including Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Bill Stepien, Kayleigh McEnany, and Dan Scavino. Hicks was also regularly in contact with President Trump.

Hicks reportedly self-isolated on Air Force One during the flight back from Trump’s rally in Minnesota Wednesday night before testing positive Thursday morning.

Ronna McDaniel

Status: The chairwoman of the Republican National Committee tested positive. “After a member of her family tested positive for Covid-19, the chairwoman was tested for the virus,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “On Wednesday afternoon, she got confirmation she was Covid-19 positive.”

Though McDaniel tested positive on Wednesday, she did not reveal the results until after the president’s status was made public.

Contact: As The Washington Post notes, McDaniel was last in contact with the president during a fundraiser on September 25th, last Friday.

Kayleigh McEnany

Status: The White House press secretary tweeted on Monday that she tested positive for Covid-19 and that she will begin the quarantine process.

Shortly after McEnany announced her positive test, CNN reported that two of her deputies have also tested positive. Those deputies were later confirmed to be Karoline Leavitt and Chad Gilmartin.

Contact: McEnany has been in touch with several members of the Trump administration over the course of the past week. Prior to announcing her diagnosis on Monday, she spoke to members of the press without wearing a mask.

Kellyanne Conway

Status: The White House adviser announced on Twitter Friday night that she has tested positive for Covid-19.

Contact: Conway was seated behind Melania Trump and in front of Father John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, at the White House event announcing Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court. The first lady and Jenkins both announced they tested positive on Friday.

Bill Stepien

Status: Trump’s campaign manager tested positive on Friday evening, per Politico.

Contact: Stepien has reportedly been around Trump and his staff all week, and was traveling with the president to the debate on Tuesday night. Stepien was also seen getting into a staff van with Hope Hicks. On Friday morning, he sent an email urging campaign staff to take proper precautions.

Stephen Miller

Status: MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson reported on Tuesday that Miller has tested positive for Covid-19. The senior administration official who relayed the news noted that “Miller has been working remotely for last 5 days, testing negative every day through yesterday, and is in quarantine after a positive test today.”

Contact: Miller participated in preparations for the first presidential debate in Cleveland. Miller’s wife, Pence aide Katie Miller, tested positive for the virus in May before returning to work at the end of the month.

Chris Christie

Status: The former New Jersey governor announced on Saturday that he tested postive for Covid-19. He later checked himself into a New Jersey hospital as a precautionary measure, according to CNN’s Dana Bash.

Contact: Christie took part in meetings to prepare President Trump for the debate in Cleveland on Tuesday. Also in the meetings were Trump, Hope Hicks, Kellyanne Conway — all of whom have since tested positive. Rudy Giuliani, who tested negative on Friday, was also present, as were several others.

Nick Luna

Status: Luna, a personal aide described as one of Trump’s “body men,” tested positive on Saturday, Bloomberg reported.

Sen. Mike Lee

Status: The Republican senator from Utah announced on Twitter Friday morning that he tested positive on Thursday after experiencing symptoms Thursday morning. The positive results comes “a few days” after testing negative while visiting the White House.

Contact: Lee was at the White House on Saturday for Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination ceremony, and met with Barrett separately on Tuesday.

On Thursday morning, when he said he first began experiencing symptoms, Lee attended a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. He wasn’t wearing a mask for at least a portion of the proceedings.

Sen. Thom Tillis

Status: Tillis, locked in a fierce reelection battle in North Carolina, announced Friday he tested positive for the virus.

Contact: A member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Tillis was at the White House event announcing Barrett’s nomination.

Sen. Ron Johnson

Status: In a statement announcing he has tested positive for Covid-19, Sen. Ron Johnson’s office laid out a detailed timeline of the Wisconsin senator’s recent brushes with the virus. Johnson, the statement said, “was exposed to someone who tested positive for Covid-19 on Sept. 14. He stayed in quarantine for 14 days without developing symptoms and tested negative twice during that time. He returned to Washington on Sept. 29 and shortly after was exposed to an individual who has since tested positive. After learning of his exposure, the senator was tested yesterday afternoon. The test came back positive. Senator Johnson feels healthy and is not experiencing symptoms. He will remain isolated until given the all-clear by his doctor.”

Contact: The statement makes clear that, unlike Tillis and Lee, Johnson was not present at the White House’s celebration for Amy Coney Barrett. It’s unclear if Johnson had any contact with President Trump after canceling plans to travel with the president during his first coronavirus scare earlier this month.

Mike Pence and Karen Pence

Status: Tested negative. The vice president (and next in the presidential line of succession) announced he tested negative Friday morning. “As has been routine for months, Vice President Pence is tested for Covid-19 every day. This morning, Vice President Pence and the Second Lady tested negative for Covid-19,” Pence Press Secretary Devin O’Malley tweeted on Friday. “Vice President Pence remains in good health and wishes the Trumps well in their recovery.”

Contact: The vice president was last in close contact with the president on Tuesday morning, according to officials.

Joe Biden and Jill Biden

Status: Biden announced on Friday that both he and his wife, Jill, tested negative.

Contact: Biden stood across the debate stage from Trump for nearly two hours on Tuesday night. They did not appear to come into physical contact with one another, as pre- and post-debate handshakes were not exchanged. The White House reportedly did not inform the Biden campaign of possible exposure.

Sen. Kamala Harris

Status: Biden’s running mate reportedly tested negative on Thursday as part of the campaign’s routine testing.

Mike Pompeo

Status: The secretary of state told reporters that he tested negative on Friday morning. Pompeo is fourth in the presidential line of succession behind Trump, Pence, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Contact: Pompeo was last in contact with the president last Tuesday, September 15th.

Mark Meadows

Status: The White House chief of staff told reporters Friday morning that he tested negative. He wasn’t wearing a mask when he made the announcement. “I fully expect that as this virus continues to go on, other people in the White House will certainly have a positive test result,” he added.

Contact: Meadows traveled with Trump to the debate on Tuesday, and to the president’s rally in Minnesota on Wednesday, arriving back at the White House very early Thursday morning. 

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner

Status: Jared and Ivanka both tested negative Friday morning, according to a White House communications aide.

Contact: Trump’s daughter and son-in-law traveled on Air Force One to the debate in Cleveland with President Trump. Hicks was on the same flight.

Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle

Status: Trump Jr. and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, the former Fox news host and the president’s current campaign finance chair, both tested negative on Friday.

Contact: Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle both attended the debate Tuesday night in Cleveland.

Eric Trump and Lara Trump

Status: Trump’s second eldest son and his wife Lara both tested negative on Friday. “Eric and Lara are praying for their father and father-in-law, respectively,” a spokesperson said in a statement on Friday. “At this time, they both have negative COVID tests and will be taking all necessary precautions, under the advisement of medical professionals.”

Contact: Eric and Lara Trump both attended the debate Tuesday night in Cleveland.

Barron Trump

Status: Trump’s youngest child tested negative. “Barron has tested negative, and all precautions are being taken to ensure he’s kept safe and healthy,” Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s chief of staff and spokeswoman, told USA Today on Friday.

Amy Coney Barrett

Status: Trump’s nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court tested negative Friday morning. According to CNN, Coney Barrett already contracted Covid-19 earlier this summer and experienced mild symptoms.

Contact: Barrett last met with President Trump on Saturday, when he announced her nomination to the Supreme Court. Though Barrett tested negative, Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins, who attended her nomination ceremony, has tested positive, according to Andrea Mitchell of NBC News.

Rep. Jim Jordan

Status: Jordan’s spokesman announced Friday the Republican from Ohio tested negative on Friday.

Contact: Jordan traveled on Air Force One to the debate in Cleveland with President Trump. Hicks was on the same flight.

Rudy Giuliani

Status: Trump’s personal attorney tested negative on Friday.

Contact: Giuliani traveled to the debate in Cleveland on Tuesday and was seen deboarding the plane “very slowly and gingerly” upon arrival back in Washington, D.C.

Steven Mnuchin

Status: The treasury secretary tested negative on Friday morning, according to a Treasury spokeswoman.

Dan Scavino

Status: The White House communications guru tested negative, according to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Contact: Scavino traveled on Marine One with the president as recently at Tuesday.

Wilbur Ross

Status: The 82-year-old commerce secretary reportedly tested negative on Friday morning.

Holding the powerful to account isn’t cheap. Support Rolling Stone’s award-winning political coverage with a digital subscription. Click here to subscribe.


Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.