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WASHINGTON – Despite rigorous testing for coronavirus at the White House, several aides close to President Donald Trump have become infected – underscoring the challenge one of the world's most secure workplaces has had in controlling its spread.
National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien has been the most high-profile member of Trump's inner circle to test positive for COVID-19. Others include a White House valet, a spokeswoman for Vice President Mike Pence and an adviser on Trump's campaign.
Trump has sought to reassure Americans that the nation's economy and schools should be reopened and has criticized some state and local officials he asserted went too far in closing down businesses. But in a reversal, Trump announced July 23 he was canceling the Florida portion of the Republican National Convention set for August.
He has also become more vocal in encouraging Americans to wear face masks.
Here's a look at the White House and campaign staff whom officials have publicly acknowledged have tested positive for the coronavirus:
Trump's national security adviser tested positive for COVID-19 in late July, the White House confirmed July 27. O'Brien, who was named to his job in September 2019, was the highest-ranking administration official to contract the coronavirus. White House officials said O'Brien had "mild symptoms" and was "self-isolating and working from a secure location off site." O'Brien was last seek in public with Trump during a July 10 visit to the U.S. Southern Command in South Florida. The next week, he traveled to Paris for meetings with counterparts from Europe.
Two cafeterias frequented by West Wing staffers were forced to shutter after a vendor employee who worked at the eateries inside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-July. The White House Medical Unit performed contact tracing and determined the risk of transmission was low, according to Pamela Pennington, press secretary for U.S. General Services Administration.
Marine assigned to Trump chopper
A Marine assigned to the military unit that flies the president's Marine One helicopter tested positive for coronavirus on July 23. The Marine, who had been at the president's golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, before Trump traveled there for a weekend visit, did not have direct contact with Trump or the helicopter, according to the Marine Corps.
The virus not only struck a senior member of Trump's campaign in early July but also got closer to the president personally. Kimberly Guilfoyle, a senior campaign official and the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., tested positive for the coronavirus just before the president delivered remarks at Mt. Rushmore over the July 4 holiday weekend. Guilfoyle, who was asymptomatic, did not come into contact with Trump or the group traveling with him and left to quarantine upon receiving the results.
Campaign rally team
Six people involved with the planning for Trump's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 20 tested positive for COVID-19 hours before the president arrived for the event. At least two U.S. Secret Service employees were among those who tested positive while the remaining four were described as members of the campaign advance team. Health officials had warned against holding the rally, which brought thousands of people into an indoor arena amid a surge in cases. Trump canceled a subsequent rally in New Hampshire and the campaign has not said when the president will resume regular rallies.
Tomas Philipson, the former acting chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told the Wall Street Journal he had a mild case of COVID-19 in early June. Philipson has since left his position in the White House and said he has recovered.
In one of the more high profile cases inside the White House, Pence's top spokeswoman, Katie Miller, tested positive for the coronavirus in early May. The result forced Pence to delay an Air Force Two trip to Iowa for more than an hour as officials tried to assess who Miller had been in contact with. Soon after, three members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, were reported to be self-quarantining. Miller has since returned to work.
White House valet
A Navy valet who worked at the White House and had been in close contact with Trump tested positive in early May, the president confirmed at the Time. Trump told reporters he has had "very little contact" with the valet, part of a team that serves the president food and handles other personal tasks. But he later told Fox News that he had been in the same room as the person day before he began exhibiting symptoms. The White House did not identify the individual. Following the incident, the White House announced that aides would be tested daily for coronavirus rather than weekly.
Unidentified Pence staffer
A member of Pence’s staff tested positive for coronavirus in mid-March, before many of the more rigorous controls were implemented at the White House. The White House confirmed the case but did not disclose the name of the individual. Katie Miller, a spokeswoman for Pence, said at the time that the person was not in close contact with Pence or the president. The case was the first publicly revealed infection among White House aides. At the time, two members of Congress had tested positive for the virus.
Contributing: David Jackson
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Meet White House aides, Trump campaign team who have been hit by COVID