It has been reported by the Washington Post that President Trump may have been exposed to the coronavirus at last week’s CPAC in Maryland.
The host organization for last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the American Conservative Union (ACU), announced that an attendee was exposed to coronavirus before the conference and has now tested positive for COVID-19. The person has been quarantined in New Jersey and is getting medical care.
The president did not have any contact with the patient at the conference, nor is it thought that he was at any time in close proximity to the attendee. However, CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp told the Post that he had interacted with the person. On the last day of the conference, Schlapp shook Trump’s hand, so it is feasible that the virus could have been passed to the president.
CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp tells me he interacted with attendee who has tested positive for coronavirus. While the timeline is unknown, Schlapp shook Trump’s hand on stage the last day of the conference. https://t.co/lR5DfHiy8c
— Colby Itkowitz (@ColbyItkowitz) March 8, 2020
The ACU posted an advisory on Twitter, notifying those who were at CPAC of the development. The notice mentioned that the infected attendee “never attended the events in the main hall.”
Important Health Notification for CPAC 2020 participants and attendees. pic.twitter.com/NtahNO8st3
— ACU (@ACUConservative) March 7, 2020
President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the conference and many administration and cabinet officials also attended, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, HHS Secretary Alex Azar, Mark Meadows–who has been named as White House chief of staff, as well as Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr.
“At this time there is no indication that either President Trump or Vice President Pence met with or were in close proximity to the attendee,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement. “The President’s physician and United States Secret Service have been working closely with White House Staff and various agencies to ensure every precaution is taken to keep the First Family and the entire White House Complex safe and healthy.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement that those who attended or worked at CPAC may be at risk of contracting the virus. He suggested that any attendees who are experiencing symptoms to reach out to their health-care provider. “We are providing this update not to unnecessarily raise alarm, but in the interest of full transparency and out of an abundance of caution,” said Hogan.
“Immediately after learning of this individual’s interactions in our state, we began coordinating with the White House, the CDC and federal officials, the New Jersey Department of Health, Prince George’s County officials, and conference organizers,” Hogan said.
After news broke of the CPAC attendee’s diagnosis, Trump told reporters, “No, I’m not concerned at all. We’ve done a great job.”
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) February 27, 2020
BPR Managing Editor Michele Kirk was one of the attendees at the conservative conference. She reports that there were multiple “hand sanitizer stations around CPAC,” so there is every reason to hope they were used often by all who were there.
Kirk herself was in close contact with Schlapp.
The email notice from CPAC to attendees came Saturday evening:
The American Conservative Union has learned that one of our CPAC attendees has unfortunately tested positive today for coronavirus. The exposure occurred previous to the conference. A New Jersey hospital tested the person, and CDC confirmed the positive result. The individual is under the care of medical professionals in the state of New Jersey, and has been quarantined.
ACU has been in contact with the Health Department of the State of Maryland, and we will explicitly follow the guidance from government health experts.
This attendee had no interaction with the President or the Vice President and never attended the events in the main hall.
The health and safety of our attendees and participants is our top priority. Any attendee who has questions can contact ACU or the Department of Health for the State of Maryland.
Our children, spouses, extended family, and friends attended CPAC. During this time, we need to remain calm, listen to our health care professionals, and support each other. We send this message in that spirit.
The Trump Administration is aware of the situation, and we will continue regular communication with all appropriate government officials.
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