President Donald Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien has tested positive for coronavirus, according to an NPR report. O’Brien is the highest-ranking member of the Trump administration to test positive for the novel coronavirus since the pandemic began.
“National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien tested positive for COVID-19. He has mild symptoms and has been self-isolating and working from a secure location off-site. There is no risk of exposure to the president or the vice president. The work of the National Security Council continues uninterrupted,” the White House said in a statement.
The diagnosis came after O’Brien went to Europe and met with leaders from the U.K., France, Germany, and Italy. The last time President Trump and O’Brien appeared together was on July 10 when they both visited U.S. Southern Command. Since last week, O’Brien has worked from home, and Bloomberg reported that he began experiencing symptoms after a family event. The Trump administration member has performed his NSC duties by phone while isolating at his home.
O’Brien normally works in an office that is near both the president’s Oval Office in the White House West Wing and Vice President Mike Pence’s office in the same area. He, as well as the senior staff on the NSC, receive COVID-19 tests each day.
The news of the official’s illness came the week after news that two cafeterias that serve the White House campus shut down due to a food service employee contracting the virus. In May, President Trump’s personal valet also had the coronavirus as well as other staffers, including the vice president’s spokeswoman, Katie Miller, who is married to Trump senior policy expert Stephen Miller. The high profile instances of the illness raised concerns about the president’s exposure to the virus. However, he is tested regularly.
June brought more cases among Trump’s campaign staffers and Secret Service agents. Then, in early July, Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, received a COVID-19 diagnosis. Guilfoyle also serves as a campaign fundraiser. Despite the people who are associated with the president contracting the sickness, he appears to have avoided the illness.
So far, the coronavirus pandemic has caused more than 648,000 deaths throughout the world, with at least 146,935 deaths occurring in the U.S. To date, the world has seen 16.2 million coronavirus cases, and more than 4.2 million of those occurred in America. Cases have surged throughout the month of July in the country, with hotspots occurring in Florida, Arizona, California, and Texas.