‘We were recently notified by the White House Medical Unit that a member of the United States Military, who works on the White House campus, has tested positive for Coronavirus,’ deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. ‘The President and the Vice President have since tested negative for the virus and they remain in great health.’
The navy stewards are part of a military unit that provide a variety of services for the West Wing, including catering and valet services.
But many military aides assigned to the White House detail help out with special events, including greeting officials and other ceremonial roles.
Enlisted service men – as part of their valet duties – serve food and beverages to the president (Trump favors diet coke). They also will travel with him and bring a go bag that contains all the necessary items for a trip, such as favorite snacks. Trump’s bag would likely include hand sanitizer given his preference for using it.
People are tested for the coronavirus before meeting with President Trump as were the participants in the Oval Office event on Wednesday for World Nurses Day, where no one wore masks or socially distanced
The valet is the second know staffer to test positive in the vast White House complex, which includes the West Wing offices where the president works, the Old Executive Office building where many aides are located, the East Wing offices of the first lady, and the Executive Mansion where the first family lives. A staffer in Pence’s office tested positive in March.
A White House source told CNN the valet had symptoms Wednesday morning and the news that someone close to the president had tested positive for the virus was ‘hitting the fan’ in the West Wing.
It’s the latest close brush with the coronavirus for the president. On March 7, he hosted a working dinner for the president of Brazil at Mar-a-Lago where a Brazilian official later tested positive for the disease.
The military office in the White House is near the same suite of offices occupied by the first lady.
The jam-packed quarters and premium on space means chances of infection are increased. The White House has increased safety measures, including temperature checks at the entrance gates to the complex and staffers are reported to be tested once a week.
White House aides, however, have not been seen wearing face marks while working or in events with the president. And social distancing protocols are nearly impossible to maintain in the tight office space.
First Lady Melania Trump has been much more strict with the areas she oversees, including the residence and the East Wing, which includes requiring staff to wear masks.
‘She has implemented very strong rules in both the residence and the East Wing,’ Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s chief of staff, told DailyMail.com.
‘Staff was cut back in the residence, and East Wing staff are teleworking unless vital to come in for meetings or events. Masks are worn and social distancing has been strictly enforced,’ she noted.
Melania Trump has advocated for people to wear face masks, shooting a video urging people to don one and was pictured wearing one herself.
The president has not been photographed wearing a mask although he said he wore backstage during a visit to the Honeywell factory in Arizona on Tuesday, which switched to making surgical masks to help battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Besides the political staff that make up the West Wing, there are permanent staff throughout the White House complex, including members of the military and civilian staffers.
Melania Trump has encouraged people to wear face masks
Melania Trump requires East Wing staff to wear masks, unlike President Trump in the West Wing
There are 96 full time employees who work in the residence, which makes up the second and third floors of the White House. And there are another 250 part-time employees, according to the book ‘The Residence’ by Kate Anderson Brower, which detailed the work of the residence staff.
Those jobs include: butler, maid, chef, plumber, doorman, and florist.
The incubation time for the coronavirus ranges anywhere from 2-14 days. People can be infectious for up to two days before they show symptoms. This can vary from person to person.
It has been White House policy that people meeting with the president are required to pass a coronavirus test.
For example, when President Trump held an event in the Oval Office on Wednesday for World Nurse Day all the participants were tested before hand.
‘We wouldn’t do anything to harm our president,’ one of the nurses at the event said. ‘We are all tested and we are all negative and that’s why we are not socially distancing and why we are not wearing masks.’
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are tested weekly for the virus. Melania Trump is also tested regularly.
Credit — dailymail.co.uk