This Thursday, the news emerged that a member of the Navy who serves as a personal valet to President Donald Trump had tested positive for the Coronavirus. It’s not the first time that someone with whom Trump has closely interacted has tested positive, but CNN is now reporting that Trump, who has described himself as a “germaphobe,” was left “upset” by the news of a valet’s positive Coronavirus test, which followed them apparently beginning to show symptoms on Wednesday morning. After the positive test results, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were again tested for the Coronavirus, and both of their test results came back negative.
‘Trump was upset when he was informed Wednesday that the valet had tested positive, a source told CNN, and the President was subsequently tested again by the White House physician… A White House source said the valet, a man who has not been identified, exhibited “symptoms” Wednesday morning, and said the news that someone close to Trump had tested positive for coronavirus was “hitting the fan” in the West Wing. Trump, who is a self-described germophobe, has chastised aides before who coughed or sneezed in his presence. He has claimed to rarely get sick himself.’
Over 75,000 Americans are dead because of the Coronavirus, but it seems like personal discomfort that manages to actually make the president “upset.” He has consistently sought to downplay the overall severity of the virus, insisting in the early days that concern about the disease was a “hoax” and claiming more recently that calls for strengthening the U.S. response capacity were just a “false talking point.”
Trump has even downplayed his personal risk of the virus, although this incident involving his personal valet is not the first in which someone in his inner circle has tested positive.
He told reporters recently, describing why he supposedly didn’t have a reason to be concerned:
‘The test result comes back in five minutes, and we have great testing. Or they wouldn’t be allowed to travel with me. It’s not my choice; it’s a very strong group of people that want to make sure they are tested, including Secret Service.’
CNN notes that presidential valets like the individual who tested positive this week for the Coronavirus often end up as “confidants” of the president and first family through the course of their work, which includes personal assistance while in the White House and accompaniment for the president while traveling. The newly Coronavirus-infected individual has not been publicly identified.
The White House has been utilizing a 15-minute test developed by Abbott Labs, which the administration recently offered to Congress upon their return to D.C. Congressional leaders, including both Democrats and Republicans, initially rejected the offer, insisting that the most up-to-date infrastructure should be kept for the front lines of the fight against the Coronavirus. Meanwhile, Trump, Pence, and top staffers around them have reportedly been getting tested weekly for the Coronavirus, and social distancing demands in an attempt to stop the spread have been instituted places like the White House press briefing room.