The White House on Monday confirmed that Vice President Kamala Harris had tested negative for COVID-19 after meeting with Texas lawmakers last week after it was discovered that five of the lawmakers have tested positive, according to The Hill.
The lawmakers, all Democrats, fled to Washington to keep Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives from having a quorum to vote on voting reform efforts the Democrats oppose.
Although all the Democrats have been vaccinated and were experiencing either mild or no symptoms, they had come under fire from some on the right after posting photos on social media in their private jet not wearing masks. Passengers on commercial airliners are required to wear masks even if fully vaccinated.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked if there are concerns about Harris being near President Joe Biden, who is also fully vaccinated, but at higher risk because of his age.
"I would say the — I think the vice president’s office put out that she was tested, and that she did — there was no detection of COVID-19," Psaki replied. "They also put out some specific details about their proximity to the individuals who tested positive as well. We take these precautions incredibly seriously and abide by the health — the guidance of our health and medical experts."
Asked whether the Democratic lawmakers should have been more careful, Psaki responded: "I don't think I'm going to be in a position here to assess what safety precautions they may or may not have taken. Obviously, these individuals were out there trying to elevate the issue of an individual's right to vote. We — we, of course, hope everybody abides by public health guidelines. That's what we certainly recommend."
Psaki noted that Harris' visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday had been planned weeks in advance, and had nothing to do with her possible COVID exposure.
Though the White House said on Monday that Harris had tested negative for COVID, senior Harris adviser and spokesperson Symone Sanders said on Sunday that Harris was not in close contact with the Texas Democrats and would not be tested or going into quarantine.
"Earlier today, it was brought to our attention that two of the members at that meeting tested positive for COVID-19," Sanders said. "Based on the timeline of these positive tests, it was determined the vice president and her staff present at the meeting were not at risk of exposure because they were not in close contact with those who tested positive and therefore do not need to be tested or quarantined."
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