Another guest who was at Mar-a-Lago last weekend and interacted with President Donald Trump has tested positive for the new coronavirus, or COVID-19, GOP officials said.
The guest is believed to have attended a fundraiser luncheon at the resort on Sunday that was also attended by the president, along with a number of Republican lawmakers and White House officials. In total, the event drew about 1,000 attendees, according to the Palm Beach Post.
In a message from the resort that was obtained by the media, donors who attended the luncheon were cautioned, “As you may have had contact with this individual, please contact your medical provider if you or any of your loved ones is ill.”
Second Mar-A-Lago visitor to test positive
Last weekend, Trump also hosted a delegation of Brazilian government officials at his Mar-a-Lago resort in south Florida, and The Post reports that three top staffers for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for the illness shortly after returning home.
One of the infected staffers briefly posed for a picture and shook hands with President Trump.
The president was asked a couple of times about his interaction with the Brazilian staffer during a news conference on Friday in the White House Rose Garden, but Trump downplayed any potential risks he may have faced. He also noted that President Bolsonaro had tested negative for the virus.
Asked about the potential exposure, Trump said, “Well, I don’t know that I had exposure, but I don’t have any of the symptoms. And we do have a White House doctor and, I should say, many White House doctors, frankly. And I asked them that same question, and they said, ‘You don’t have any symptoms whatsoever,'” and therefore didn’t need to be tested.
Asked again about the Brazilian staffer, Trump replied, “I have no idea who he is, but I take pictures and it lasts for, literally, seconds. I don’t know the gentleman that we’re talking about.”
“But I take sometimes hundreds of pictures a day. And that night I was taking hundreds of pictures. So I just don’t know. Now I did sit with the President for probably two hours, but he has tested negative,” he added.
Reading between the lines
Intermingled with all of the questions about the Brazilian staffer — and likely now the unnamed guest at the fundraiser — is a sort of ghoulish faux concern among some in the media about the prospects that Trump may have contracted the new coronavirus. Hence their persistent questions about whether he’s been tested for the disease yet.
Trump has been particularly cagey in response to that question — likely due to a justifiable suspicion that, regardless of how he answers, it will be turned against him. But he did admit on Friday that he “most likely” would be tested at some point. “Not for that reason, but because I think I will do it anyway. Fairly soon.”
To be sure, there is a legitimate reason to wonder if the president has been exposed. That said, the way the media has gone about framing their questions on that topic reveals their ulterior motives, so it is not a surprise that Trump has resisted them.