President Donald Trump’s campaign-style events during the pandemic are reportedly raising the risk of infection among the Secret Service members who protect him.
In the past two months, dozens of Secret Service agents have been sickened or sidelined because they were in direct contact with COVID-19 infected people, the Washington Post reported Friday.
According to the Post, ahead of Trump’s speech to a group of sheriffs in Tampa, Fla., on July 31, five Secret Service agents already on the ground had to be replaced after one tested positive for the coronavirus, and the others working in proximity were presumed to be infected.
And two agents assigned to stand guard at Trump’s private club in Bedminster, N.J., fell sick with coronavirus symptoms this month while the president golfed, the Post reported.
One unidentified law enforcement official told the Post agents on the president’s detail warned colleagues on the Bedminster trip not to share information about the illness because media coverage would anger the president.
In a statement, spokeswoman Catherine Milhoan said agents did not test positive for the coronavirus at Bedminster, but declined to comment on whether agents working at the site fell ill or were replaced.
Trump’s latest large gathering was Thursday night at the White House, when he delivered his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention before a crowd of 1,500 people on the South Lawn. Few wore masks and the majority weren’t tested for the coronavirus ahead of time, the Post reported.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement Trump “takes the health and safety of everyone traveling in support of himself and all White House operations very seriously, as well as those dedicated to covering him and this Administration.”
The Secret Service declined to provide information about the number of its employees who’ve tested positive.
Secret Service Director James Murray told personnel last month in staff messages the numbers of positive cases had been rising, a trend he attributed to the agency’s increased testing in previous weeks, the Post reported, citing two unnamed sources.
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