[guest post by Dana]
Last weekend, President Trump hosted guests at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. One of those guests, the press secretary to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who was also a guest at the estate, tested positive for the coronavirus:
Fabio Wajngarten, press secretary for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, posed for a picture with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Bolsonaro at Trump’s Florida resort over the weekend that he posted on Instagram. The press office at Brazil’s presidential palace confirmed to NBC News Thursday that Wajngarten had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Today, President Bolsonaro announced that his own test for coronavirus came back negative.
President Trump’s press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, responded to questions about the president’s decision to not be tested, in spite of his close proximity to Wajngarten:
“Both the president and vice president had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive and do not require being tested at this time,” Grisham said. “To reiterate CDC guidelines, there is currently no indication to test patients without symptoms, and only people with prolonged close exposure to confirmed positive cases should self-quarantine.”
It should be noted that Trump also chose not to self-quarantine.
Sen. Lindsay Graham who had also been in attendance at Mar-a-Lago last weekend, opted to follow his doctor’s advice and self-quarantine until he was notified of the results of his coronavirus test. He stated that he was doing this “out of an abundance of caution”.
Sen. Rick Scott, who met with Bolsonaro on Monday, also opted to self-quarantine, saying:
[T]he health and safety of the American people is my focus and I have made the decision to self-quarantine in an abundance of caution[.]
And today we learned that Miami mayor Francis Suarez, who met with Wajngarten last weekend, has also tested positive for coronavirus.
Trump offered this explanation for not being tested or self-quarantining after being in close proximity to the Brazilian press secretary:
“I feel extremely good, I feel very good. But I guess it’s not a big deal to get tested, and it’s something I would do. But, again, I spoke to the White House doctor — terrific guy, talented guy — he said he sees no reason to do it, there’s no symptoms, no anything,” he said at the time.
Over the weekend, Trump also came into contact with two Republican congressmen — Reps. Doug Collins of Georgia and Matt Gaetz of Florida — prior to their decisions to self-quarantine after being exposed to someone infected with the coronavirus at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. Neither has reported having any symptoms.
At a press conference this afternoon, Trump said he “might” get tested for the virus, days after having come in contact with press secretary Wajngarten, as well as shaking hands with the CEO’s attending today’s Rose Garden announcement. He explained:
“We have a White House doctor — I should say many White House doctors,” said Trump. “I asked them that same question, and they said, ‘You don’t have any symptoms whatsoever.’ And we don’t want people without symptoms to go and do the test. The test is not insignificant.”
But when he was pressed about his contact with the Brazilian staffer, Trump said, “I didn’t say I wasn’t going to be tested.” Asked if he would be, he said, “Most likely. Not for that reason, but because I think I will do it anyway. Fairly soon. We’re working out a schedule.”
And then there is this: It is now being reported that a second person with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago last weekend has also tested positive for coronavirus:
A second person who was at Mar-a-Lago with President Donald Trump last weekend has tested positive for coronavirus.
That’s according to a Republican official who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss private health matters.
The person attended a fundraiser at the president’s Florida resort.Trump also spent time last weekend with a Brazilian official who tested positive just days later.
“Abundance of caution” means nothing to Trump. Yet as the leader of the nation, shouldn’t it? If we are being directed to self-quarantine “out of an abundance of caution,” shouldn’t he do likewise – even if to set an example? Certainly he could run the government from just about anywhere for two weeks. Further, although he is not showing symptoms, and his doctor has said that there is no reason for him to be tested, I wonder what his doctor said about whether it would be in everyone’s best interest that he self-quarantine for two weeks?