White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has tested positive for coronavirus, according to two officials close to Meadow's team. He is the latest official in President Donald Trump's administration to become infected with COVID-19 after the outbreak at the West Wing.
Mark Meadows tested positive
Aside from Meadows, two other staffers have tested positive. This has added to the pressure of the already tense post-election White House.
The 61-year-old Chief of Staff announced after Election Day that he had contracted COVID-19, but was not clear when he first tested positive for the virus.
Meadows has been skeptical of the virus and its mitigation measures and has not often been seen socially distancing nor seen wearing a mask, according to The New York Times.
Meadows has traveled with Trump on the Air Force One during his campaign swing on November 1 and November 2. He also accompanied the President on a visit to his campaign headquarters on November 2, and he attended a White House election night party where he came into close contact with the First Family. During those engagements, he was not seen wearing a mask.
Later this week, he has been involved in plotting President Trump's post-election legal strategy, and he has encouraged the President with his false claims that voter fraud could prevent him from being reelected.
According to Bloomberg, Meadows was on a conference call with the Trump campaign senior legal team late this week. He called in while others were in a conference room together, suggesting that he is in isolation.
The development came as the officials were already talking about President Trump losing to Joe Biden in the election as Biden's votes continue to increase. The atmosphere was already frenzied as the future of President Trump remains in question, and Meadow's diagnosis added to the tension.
Meadows testing positive for COVID-19 came a month after President Trump himself tested positive for the virus. Meadows spent three nights at Walter Reed National Medical Center together with President Trump as the President needed extra attention after experiencing serious symptoms.
Several other staffers also tested positive for the virus. Some of them even attended a Rose Garden ceremony for Trump's Supreme Court nominee, and the team that helped President Trump prepare for his presidential debate has also tested positive.
Meadows was criticized for not communicating better about the scale of the virus outbreak at the White House. The White House insisted that it had conducted contact tracing despite the spike in cases, but many officials felt they were left on their own to figure out the next move.
Meadows has encouraged officials to keep the coronavirus cases a secret. He was hoping to avoid the appearance of widespread contagion inside the executive branch.
However, his efforts have fallen short as last month, senior aides to Vice President Mike Pence revealed that they also contracted the virus.
Last month, Meadows admitted to CNN that the strategy of the Trump administration was not to control the disease. White House officials are now alarmed, given that he has been around other staffers while being contagious.