Incoming White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows said Monday he would self-quarantine after potentially coming into contact with a person who tested positive for Coronavirus.
The North Carolina Republican was told this weekend he “came in contact” with a person who tested positive for the coronavirus at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, and that he would isolate himself until a two-week period had passed, his office said, according to the Washington Post.
Meadows was named Trump’s new chief of staff on Friday after the president pushed out Mick Mulvaney. The lawmaker has been a fierce ally of the administration for years and was a vocal defender during Trump’s impeachment inquiry in the House.
Trump sought to allay growing anxiety about the coronavirus during a news briefing on Monday, saying the economy was strong despite a precipitous decline on Wall Street.
“We have a very strong economy,” Trump said at the time. “This blindsided the world, and I think we’ve done very, very well.”
He declined to answer if he had been tested for the virus, abruptly leaving the press conference before handing the microphone over to Vice President Mike Pence, who has been tasked with leading the nation’s response to the outbreak.
Four other Republican lawmakers, Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.). Paul Gosar (Ariz.) and Doug Collins (Ga.), also attended CPAC and interacted with the infected person. Two of those, Gaetz and Collins, also interacted directly with the president, and Gaetz rode on Air Force One with Trump on Monday.
Another lawmaker, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), said he had also been advised that he may have been exposed at the conference but said he would not self-quarantine.
“I took the advice of the expert and returned to work,” Gohmert said on Twitter. “No one is panicking, and we are observing the recommended precautions.”