Interior Department holiday party canceled after Secretary Bernhardt tests positive for COVID-19

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Peter Weber
·1 min read
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Interior Secretary David Bernhardt tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, and he got his test result back in time to sit out a Cabinet meeting at the White House. Interior spokesman Nicholas Goodwin said Bernhardt "is currently asymptomatic" and will continue to work in quarantine. Bernhardt, 51, is the latest Trump administration official to contract the coronavirus and the third top official at the Interior Department to test positive, The Washington Post reports.

"Following Bernhardt's diagnosis, employees at Interior were informed that a large holiday party that had been scheduled for Thursday has been canceled," the Post adds, citing two sources. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has thrown several holiday office parties, tested negative for COVID-19 but is in quarantine after coming into contact with someone who tested positive, the State Department said Wednesday. Pompeo also skipped President Trump's Cabinet meeting and reportedly canceled Wednesday night's holiday office party.

Bernhardt, a former oil and gas lobbyist, attended a portrait unveiling for his predecessor, Ryan Zinke, last week, along with Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.). "Bernhardt's infection has set off a wave of tests among high-ranking department officials," the Post reports. "He has spent the past two days in meetings with political appointees" who continue to come into the office to work, even as most of the staff at the Interior Department's headquarters is working remotely.

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