White House officials were urgently assessing as-yet-unconfirmed reports Friday that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had tested positive for coronavirus after meeting with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago.
The White House had said a day earlier that neither Trump nor Vice President Pence would be tested themselves, despite coming into contact with an aide to Bolsonaro who did test positive.
But the calculus in the White House is changing, one official said. Aides are currently weighing whether Trump should be tested, but it was still not clear whether he will.
Officials said the White House was constantly evaluating whether to test the President and take measures to prevent the virus’s spread further among Trump’s close confidantes, according to one senior official, who said aides are keenly aware of the optics of testing the President.
Others close to the President said they believed he would eventually be tested — if he hadn’t already been so — despite denials from the White House. The decision would likely be closely held.
The White House did not respond on the record to a question about whether their Thursday statement that the President had not been tested still stood.
The White House said on Thursday that neither Trump nor Pence had displayed any symptoms, though asymptomatic people can still spread the virus and some studies have shown symptoms can begin displaying only after five days. Trump and Bolsonaro met last Saturday at Mar-a-Lago.
Some inside the White House have privately wondered why Trump isn’t being tested, according to officials, who said those people believe it would be a prudent step as Trump continues to meet with people, including a meeting scheduled for later Friday with laboratory industry officials.
Some of Trump’s closest congressional allies — including Sens. Lindsey Graham and Rick Scott, Reps. Matt Gaetz, Doug Collins and Mark Meadows, his new chief of staff — have all taken precautionary self-quarantine measures after coming into contact with people who tested positive for the virus.
One White House official noted Trump is always technically “working from home” when he’s at the White House and doesn’t have any public plans to leave in the next few days.
Pence, meanwhile, is not going to be tested unless something changes in the coming days, according to a person familiar with the matter. He did not attend the dinner with Bolsonaro or interact closely with the press secretary, so they have been advised again by his doctor that he doesn’t need it.
Source: CNN News