A number of the Texas Democrats who fled their state for Washington D.C. to block Republican-led election law reforms — and have been meeting with numerous Democratic officials to promote voting rights — have since tested positive for COVID-19, despite all claiming to have been fully vaccinated.
Now comes word that fully vaccinated staffers in both the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) office have tested positive for COVID-19 after meeting with the infected Texas Democrats, Fox News reported.
Pelosi staffer tests positive
In Speaker Pelosi’s office, as confirmed by her top aide, Drew Hammill, the staffer who tested positive for COVID-19 was fully vaccinated and is not believed to have been in close contact with the speaker or other top-level aides.
“Yesterday, a fully vaccinated senior spokesperson in the speaker’s press office tested positive for COVID after contact with members of the Texas state legislature last week,” Hammill said in a statement. “This individual has had no contact with the speaker since exposure.”
“The entire press office is working remotely today with the exception of individuals who have had no exposure to the individual or have had a recent negative test. Our office will continue to follow the guidance of the Office of Attending Physician closely,” he added.
Fox noted that Pelosi, who along with her staff have resumed wearing masks at all times, said of the staffer that tested positive, “I’m sorry he has it. All the more reason for all of us to be vaccinated as he was. Wear a mask. Take every precaution.”
No contact with Biden
Axios was the first to report on the positive tests in the Speaker’s office and the White House staffers, both of whom had met with the Texas Democrats at a rooftop reception last week. The Pelosi staffer, however, reportedly helped usher those Texas Democrats around Capitol Hill — raising questions about who else may have potentially been exposed.
As for the White House staffer that tested positive, who was described as being mildly symptomatic, they have not been in close contact with the president or any other top-level staffers.
“In accordance with our rigorous COVID-19 protocols, the official remains off campus as they wait for a confirmatory PCR test. The White House Medical Unit has conducted contact tracing interviews and determined no close contacts among White House principals and staff. The individual has mild symptoms,” an unnamed White House official told the outlet.
“The White House is prepared for breakthrough cases with regular testing. This is another reminder of the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines against severe illness or hospitalization. We wish our colleague a speedy recovery,” the official added.
Failure to disclose
Meanwhile, during Tuesday’s press briefing with White House press secretary Jen Psaki, she fielded several questions pertaining to the development but remained tight-lipped in providing any clarity on the matter, aside from acknowledging that there have been a number of “breakthrough cases” among non-commissioned officers — or low- to mid-level staffers — who were fully vaccinated and tested positive that had not been previously disclosed.
In terms of prior vows of total transparency with regard to COVID-19 cases involving the White House, though, Psaki seemingly shifted the goalposts by suggesting that the White House had only promised to inform the public if a “commissioned officer” — or the “the highest-level ranking people in the White House” — tests positive.