The New York Times reported Thursday that another member of the U.S. Secret Service had contracted COVID-19.
According to the Washington Examiner, anonymous Trump administration officials told the Times that the agent was part of a crew assigned to prepare for Vice President Mike Pence’s recent trip to Arizona. The southwestern state has been one of the hardest hit by recent surges of the coronavirus.
Other agents on the Secret Service preparation crew have also fallen ill, according to the report, but it is unclear whether they have also tested positive for the coronavirus disease.
The news comes days after The Washington Post reported that at least three Secret Service agents who had been part of the preparation team for President Donald Trump’s recent rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, also tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Examiner.
“A story of little use”
Asked to comment, Catherine Milhoan, the Secret Service’s director of communications, told the Times that the agency does not speak to how it protects principals in the government, and that “the health and safety of our work force, their families, and that of our protectees remains the agency’s highest priority.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Vice President Pence blasted the Post for wasting news space on a story he alleged is of little significance to most Americans.
“Instead of highlighting Vice President Pence’s concerted effort with Task Force members to visit and support states with new cases, The Washington Post is choosing to use its pages to report on a story of little use to everyday Americans attempting to learn more about how coronavirus affects them or the administration’s response efforts,” spokesman Devin O’Malley said, according to the Examiner.
“Help is on the way”
Pence opted to delay his trip to Arizona by one day after news broke of the coronavirus in Secret Service ranks, allowing time for sick agents to be swapped out, as Fox News reported.
The vice president also canceled several scheduled campaign events after hearing of rising COVID-19 cases in Arizona.
Still, as head of the White House’s coronavirus task force, the VP met with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) on Wednesday.
“I’ve instructed the acting secretary of Homeland Security to move out immediately to provide additional doctors, nurses and technical personnel,” Pence said at a press conference in Arizona, according to Fox. “Help is on the way and we’re going to spare no expense to provide the kind of reinforcements that you will need across the state, should this pandemic continue to spread.”
Arizona is currently seeing thousands of new coronavirus cases each day, according to government data. The state has seen at least 87,425 confirmed cases since the outbreak began; according to The New York Times, more than 2.7 million cases of the disease have been confirmed nationwide. And as was seen among Secret Service agents this week, it seems the numbers just keep climbing.