On Monday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced that she had tested positive for COVID-19. McEnany claimed that she revealed this news shortly after the test results came back, and that she is asymptomatic. Critics are pointing out all of the times McEnany has ignored coronavirus safety protocol in the last few days, knowing that she had been in contact with contagious carriers like President Donald Trump.
"After testing negative consistently, including every day since Thursday, I test positive for COVID-19 on Monday morning while experiencing no symptoms," McEnany wrote in a public statement. "No reporters, producers, or members of the press are listed as close contacts by the White House Medical Unit. Moreover, I definitively had no knowledge of Hope Hicks' diagnosis prior to holding a White House press briefing on Thursday."
"As an essential worker, I have worked diligently to provide needed information to the American People at this time," she went on. "With my recent positive test, I will begin the quarantine process and will continue to work on behalf of the American People remotely."
McEnany got little sympathy on Twitter when the announcement was posted there, as users shared photos, videos and reports of her coming into close contact with others over the last week or so. Many doubted McEnany's claim that she "had no knowledge of Hope Hicks' diagnosis," as Hicks was reportedly experiencing symptoms of the virus in the days before she tested positive. This has also cast doubt on the rapid-response testing methods employed by the White House.
Like the president and other members of his administration, McEnany has often ignored or even shown disdain for coronavirus safety precautions like face masks and social distancing over the last six months. On Thursday, McEnany gave a press briefing to White House reporters without a mask on, according to a report by CNBC. This was after Hicks' test came back, but McEnany claims she had not heard about her exposure to the virus yet, and did not learn about it until that evening, thanks to news reports on it.
This outbreak among Republicans now encompasses dozens of people, including Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, several Republican senators, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and other staff. There have also been positive tests within the staff at the venue of the presidential debate last Tuesday, and among guests at the White House reception for Supreme Court appointee Amy Coney Barrett. There, photos and videos clearly show officials hugging, shaking hands and standing close together without masks or any regard for the CDC's safety recommendations.