Coronavirus is running rampant in Washington, D.C., with the country’s top leaders infected — and the outbreak potentially far from over.
As of Saturday afternoon, President Trump; first lady Melania Trump; former NJ Gov. Chris Christie; Trump aides Hope Hicks and Kellyanne Conway; RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, and Trump’s reelection campaign manager Bill Stepien had all tested positive for the virus which has now killed more than 200,000 Americans.
The US Senate was also reeling after three Republican senators revealed their own positive diagnoses within just 24 hours. Utah’s Mike Lee, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis and Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson have all moved into quarantine, according to statements from their offices.
All have been in close contact with each other or Trump in recent days.
Christie played an integral role in the president’s debate prep, where he reportedly stood in for Joe Biden. Christie, Stepien, Conway and Hicks all participated in preparations in the White House Map Room in the days immediately preceding the debate.
“I assume there are more,” GOP strategist and Trump campaign adviser Karl Rove told The Post. “Chris Christie joined the club in the last few hours, but I don’t know. That’s one of the things about this disease, we don’t know where it goes or how it goes.”
Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, campaign senior adviser Jason Miller, and White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah also attended the prep sessions. No coronavirus cases among them have been reported so far. Giuliani and Miller have told The Post they have tested negative.
On Saturday, Sept. 26, just three days before the debate, many of the newly infected attended a Rose Garden ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett. About 150 high-profile guests crammed tightly together in folding chairs and were mostly maskless. The president and first lady, Christie, GOP senators Lee and Tillis, and Conway were all in attendance.
Vice President Pence and Attorney General Bill Barr — who also attended the ceremony — have tested negative for the virus so far.
The outbreak might also have originated at the 2020 presidential debate in Cleveland Tuesday. Eleven people on the setup crews have tested positive, the city said in a statement Friday.
President Trump also spent time at his golf club in Bedminster, NJ, during a fundraiser on Thursday that was attended by about 100 people. The event went forward even after Hope Hicks tested positive for the virus earlier in the day. Trump also held a massive outdoor rally in Duluth, Minn., on Wednesday night. The state has reported a recent spike of new cases.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved Saturday to try and stem the tide of new infections, canceling all Senate floor votes for the next two weeks. The leader, however, said that confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett would proceed as scheduled, with Judiciary Committee hearings — even if by video — set for Oct. 12.
Until his own diagnosis, President Trump had routinely flouted mask-wearing and even mocked his Democratic opponent Joe Biden for doing so during their debate on Tuesday. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has insisted, however, that the president has “no problem” wearing masks.