The Slatest

Maybe the White House Should Practice Social Distancing

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence with the Brazilian delegation, including Fábio Wajngarten (over Trump’s shoulder), in Miami on Saturday.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence with the Brazilian delegation, including Fábio Wajngarten (over Trump’s shoulder), in Miami on Saturday. Alan Santos/PR/Latin America News Agency via Reuters

For weeks the coronavirus has been circling the Trump administration metaphorically, now it is literally inching closer to the White House with a spate of interactions by the president and his advisers with individuals who have gone on to test positive for the virus. Among the recent cases is the press secretary of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who tested positive for coronavirus days after meetings with Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Fábio Wajngarten accompanied the Bolsonaro delegation and posed for photos standing shoulder to shoulder with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

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Wajngarten, the man in the glasses behind Trump’s left shoulder, was also shown in a video standing in close proximity to Trump, as the two leaders spoke to a crowd, implying that the Brazilian aide spent an extended period of time in Trump’s immediate orbit.

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In addition, Wajngarten attended a birthday party for Trump campaign advise Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is also Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend. Both the president and Trump Jr. attended the party. The populist Brazilian leader, like Trump, had cast doubt on the severity of the coronavirus. Some reports have said that Bolsonaro tested positive for coronavirus Friday, but Bolsonaro says he does not have the virus. The White House maintains that neither Trump nor Pence have been tested. Two Republican senators that attended the meetings, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, said they will both be self-quarantining in response to their potential contact with Wajngarten.

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Elsewhere in the administration, a member of the Australian Cabinet, Peter Dutton, tested positive for the virus Friday, a week after conducting high-profile meetings in D.C. with Attorney General William Barr and Ivanka Trump.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced he will go into isolation for 14 days after his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, tested positive for the coronavirus following a recent trip to London. The prime minister is not showing symptoms.

Update, March 13, 2020: This post has been updated to clarify that it is unknown whether Bolsonaro has the virus.

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