Dozens of Secret Service agents have been ordered to quarantine for 14 days as a safety precaution following President Donald Trump's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday. The mass quarantine order followed confirmation that six members of the Trump campaign’s advance team, including two Secret Service agents, had tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of the rally. Two other staffers tested positive following the rally's conclusion.
Two people familiar with the agency's decision confirmed the news to The Washington Post, explaining that Secret Service employees were instructed to self-quarantine upon their return from the event. The Secret Service's Tulsa field office arranged a testing session for both agents and local officials, U.S. Attorney R. Trent Shores, at a local hospital on Tuesday. It is unclear how many, if any at all, tested positive. Catherine Milhoan, a spokesperson for the Secret Service, said in a statement that the agency would not release such info, including how many agents were or currently are in quarantine, "to protect the privacy of our employees’ health information and for operational security."
Meant to kick off his campaign trail and mark his first major event since March, Trump’s Tulsa rally had been shrouded in controversy due to fears of the coronavirus pandemic. A former Secret Service agent told The Washington Post that the president’s decision to move ahead with the rally despite the number of staffers who had tested positive for the virus "increased the health risks and burden on the people who protect" him. The two members of the Secret Service who tested positive ahead of the rally had attended a Friday afternoon planning meeting alongside dozens of other Secret Service staff. While the two agents who tested positive did not attend the rally, all other Secret Service test who had been within close proximity to them during the meeting did. Some of those agents worked closely with the president. One person familiar with the meeting criticized the decision to allow those who attended to still work, stating that “the entire team should have been switched out,” as they "were all exposed." A former Secret Service supervisor, meanwhile, slammed the president for holding a closed-stadium rally, as doing so was "putting his law enforcement at risk."
While Trump has not addressed the criticism or the dozens of agents who have been ordered to quarantine, White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement that "the president takes the health and safety of everyone traveling in support of himself and all White House operations very seriously." Deere added that when planning such travels, they "ensure plans incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible."