President Donald Trump refused to answer questions on Monday on whether he’s been tested for the coronavirus after traveling with Congressman Matt Gaetz, who announced he came into contact with individual at C-PAC who had the coronavirus and is voluntarily self-quarantining.
The president left a White House briefing on the disease after making a brief statement on the economic measures his administration was taking to combat the disease.
He left the room and didn’t answer as multiple journalists asked him if he had been tested for the virus.
Vice President Mike Pence, who stayed to continue the briefing, said he has never been testified for the virus. Pence and President Trump both attended the CPAC conference at the end of the month, where an attendee tested positive for the disease.
He said he would get reporters an answer on whether the president has been tested.
‘We’ll get you a very direct answer on that,’ he said. ‘I’ve had no recommendation that I be tested.’
Gaetz spent the weekend in Florida with President Trump and several members of the first family and traveled back from the state on Air Force One with the president.
‘Congressman Gaetz was informed today that he came into contact with a CPAC attendee 11 days ago who tested positive for COVID-19,’ his office said in a statement.
Gaetz traveled on Air Force One with President Trump on Monday when the president returned from Florida. He was spotted getting off the back of the plane, where he was met by an Air Force official and escorted to a waiting car. He was seen getting on the plane in Orlando, where he walked up the front stairs of Air Force One after the president.
‘While the Congressman is not experiencing symptoms, he received testing today and expects results soon. Under doctor’s usual precautionary recommendations, he’ll remain self-quarantined until the 14-day period expires this week.’
Gaetz learned after Air Force One left Orlando that he had been in touch with an infected person at CPAC, two sources told The New York Times. He then essentially quarantined himself, sitting in a section of the plane alone, the paper reported.
The congressman told The Washington Post he was put into a ‘closed up room’ on Air Force One after he found out he might have been exposed to coronavirus. After landing, Trump ‘coaxed’ him up front before leaving.
‘He was not hyper cautious about being in the same space that I was in,’ Gaetz told the newspaper.
‘I refused to go into his office, I stood outside the door. I told him he could talk from that distance,’ he said.
The Florida Republican wore a gas mask on the House floor last week to mock the outrage surrounding the epidemic. The stunt drew enormous attention, which his office acknowledged in Monday’s statement.
‘Congressman Gaetz had expected COVID-19 to impact Congress, given the elevated frequency of travel and human contact, and demonstrated his concern last week on the House Floor,’ Gaetz office said.
His Washington D.C. office on Capitol Hill will also be closed but his Florida office will remain open.
Gaetz was spotted at Mar-a-Lago Saturday night where there was a dinner for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and a birthday party for Kimberly Guilfoyle.
Also spotted at Mar-a-Lago that night were President Trump, Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr.; Eric Trump and his wife Lara Trump; Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
Tiffany Trump was also spotted in photos posted to social media. Also seen was Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney; Vice President Mike Pence; Republican Senator Lindsey Graham; and Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Gaetz was spotted on Wednesday wearing the mask ahead of the vote on an emergency spending bill to fight the virus.
Just two days later and health officials announced the death of a man in Santa Rosa County, which falls under Gaetz’s northwestern Florida district. A second elderly person in Lee County has also died.
‘I’m extremely saddened to learn of the first fatality in our district from coronavirus, a Northwest Floridian residing in Santa Rosa County. Our prayers are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time,’ Gaetz said in a statement.
‘Reviewing the coronavirus supplemental appropriation and preparing to go vote,’ Gaetz had tweeted ahead of a vote on the $8.3 billion bill to combat the spread of the virus.
Gaetz, explaining his bizarre accessory, compared the House chamber to a ‘petri dish’ for incubating germs.
‘We all fly in these dirty airports, we touch and selfie everyone we meet and then we congregate together,’ the Florida congressman said.