US Marine assigned to President Trump’s helicopter unit tests positive for coronavirus
A US Marine assigned to Marine Helicopter Squadron One, the unit responsible for transporting the President, has tested positive for coronavirus.
The service member had flown to Bedminster, New Jersey, in anticipation of President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit there.
“Out of an abundance of caution, Marines who may have had contact with the infected Marine have been removed from the detachment. The infected Marine was never in direct contact with the President’s helicopter, Marine One,” a spokesman for the US Marine Corps told CNN in a statement.
“Prior to the President’s planned travel to Bedminster, NJ, Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) was informed that a HMX-1 Marine on detachment in Bedminster, NJ in support of the White House had tested positive for COVID-19,” the statement added.
A senior administration official told CNN that the Marine did not have any contact with the President or any administration personnel.
Politico was first to report that a member of the unit tested positive.
The incident is the latest example of the pandemic disrupting White House operations as staffers work to mitigate the spread of the virus across the country.
Administration officials were alerted this week that a cafeteria employee on the White House grounds had tested positive and in May, two White House staffers and a member of the Navy who serves as one of Trump’s personal valets all contracted the virus.
The White House has since gone to great lengths to shield Trump and Vice President Mike Pence from the outbreak, even as they travel to states where cases are surging.
Trump announced in May that he was taking a protective round of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug that has not yet been proved to prevent coronavirus.
Earlier this week, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEneny described Trump as the “most tested man in America,” who doesn’t risk spreading the virus to others.
“He’s tested more than anyone, multiple times a day,” she said. “And we believe that he’s acting appropriately.”
But Trump contradicted that claim hours later, saying he doesn’t know of a time he’s taken more than one coronavirus test in a day.
“I don’t know about more than one,” Trump responded to a reporter who asked why he was tested more than once a day.
“I do probably on average a test every two days, three days, and I don’t know of any time I’ve taken two in one day, but I could see that happening.”
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