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President Donald Trump is apparently not bothered about the prospect of contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. But given how many people he’s come into contact with who’ve been diagnosed with the disease or quarantined, he probably should be.
On Thursday, the White House said that Trump and Vice President Mike Pence wouldn’t be tested for coronavirus and would not self-quarantine after meeting in Florida with a top aide to Brazillian president Jair Bolsonaro who tested positive just days later.
“Both the president and vice president had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive and do not require being tested at this time,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement about the Bolsonaro aide.
On Friday, Brazillian media reported that Bolsonaro — who met with Trump on March 7 — had also tested positive for the virus. Bolsonaro’s son Eduardo initially confirmed the positive result to Fox News, but Bolsonaro is now disputing that, and he issued a statement on Facebook saying he tested negative for COVID-19.
But Republican Sens. Rick Scott and Lindsey Graham also came into contact with the Brazilian official, Fabio Wajngarten, and said they were self-quarantining as a precaution.
But Wajngarten isn’t the only person Trump has come into contact with in the past few weeks who has tested positive or self-quarantined.
Schlapp, the president of the American Conservative Union and husband of Trump campaign official Mercedes Schlapp, confirmed that he had come into contact with an individual at last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference who tested positive for coronavirus. CPAC, much to the chagrin of its attendees, has refused to reveal the person’s name.
Schlapp then shook hands with Trump on February 29, when the president appeared at CPAC. Both Schlapp and his wife are under self-quarantine.
The Florida congressman who mocked the coronavirus panic by wearing a gas mask on the floor of the House last week has self-quarantined after he too came into contact with the coronavirus-positive CPAC attendee. Gaetz found out while flying on Air Force One with Trump that he had come into contact with the individual, and then reportedly quarantined himself in a compartment on the plane, according to the New York Times.
The Georgia congressman and staunch Trump defender, who is currently running for Senate, also met with the CPAC attendee in question. Earlier this week, Collins met with Trump and shook his hand when the president toured CDC headquarters in Atlanta. Collins is also under self-quarantine.
Peter Dutton, the Australian Home Affairs minister, has been hospitalized with coronavirus. Although Dutton didn’t come into contact with Trump directly during a visit to D.C. last week, he did meet with several people Trump has regular contact with: daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump, as well as Attorney General William Barr, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, and assistant to the president Joe Grogan.
In addition to his meeting with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, where he was photographed standing next to Trump, the press secretary to Brazillian President Jair Bolsonaro also reportedly attended a birthday party for Kimberly Guilfoyle, a Trump campaign advisor and Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend.
Trump supporters, potentially
Trump flew to Orlando this week for a fundraiser, and was photographed shaking hands with supporters. CDC guidelines advise that Americans should follow “social distancing” measures to avoid transmitting the disease, including not shaking hands.
"You can't be a politician and not shake hands," Trump said at a town hall in Pennsylvania last week. "The bottom line is, I shake anybody's hand now. I'm proud of it."
Cover: President Donald Trump is greeted by Matt Schlapp, Chairman of the American Conservative Union, as the president arrives to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2020, at National Harbor, in Oxon Hill, Md., Saturday Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)