More Than 130 Secret Service Officers in COVID-19 Quarantine

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U.S. Secret Service Police stand outside the James Brady Press Briefing Room.
U.S. Secret Service Police stand outside the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Aug. 10, 2020, in Washington, as a news conference by President Donald Trump was paused. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

More than 130 U.S. Secret Service agents tasked with protecting President Trump have recently been forced into quarantine because they either tested positive for COVID-19 or were in close contact with coworkers who did, according to a report Friday.

The troubling spread of the virus through Secret Service ranks is believed tied to Trump’s blitz of campaign rallies across the country in the week leading up to the Nov. 3 election, three sources familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.

Desperate to gin up enthusiasm among his supporters, Trump held 14 jam-packed rallies in seven states in just the last three days before the election.

As was customary through the 2020 campaign, few of Trump’s supporters wore masks or socially distanced during the rallies, putting themselves and the president’s accompanying Secret Service agents at serious risk of infection.

Trump, who was hospitalized with COVID-19 last month, falsely insisted during the final stretch of the campaign that the virus was on the retreat and nothing to worry about.

"If you get it, you’re going to get better, and then you’re going to be immune, and it’s a whole thing and it goes away,” Trump said at a rally in Waterford Township, Mich., on Oct. 30, even though there’s no evidence COVID-19 patients develop immunity.

News of the Secret Service outbreak comes as the pandemic is resurging in catastrophic numbers across the country, with the U.S. reporting a record-shattering 152,000 new cases on Thursday. The U.S. death toll has surged above 240,000.

The virus has also crept into the upper echelons of the White House and the Trump campaign, with chief of staff Mark Meadows, senior campaign adviser Corey Lewandowksi and campaign lawyer David Bossie testing positive this week alone.

The White House declined to comment on Friday.

Julia McMurray, a Secret Service spokeswoman, did not deny the report on dozens of agents coming down with COVID-19.

“For privacy and operational security reasons, the Secret Service is not releasing how many of its employees have tested positive for COVID-19, nor how many of its employees were, or currently are, quarantined,” McMurray said.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) squarely blamed Trump for the Secret Service outbreak.

“The Secret Service officers who put their lives on the line to protect our leaders are courageous professionals, but Donald Trump has shown callous indifference to their health and safety,” Beyer said. “Trump’s total disregard for the lives of his protectors, supporters, and aides shows how dangerous his extreme selfishness has become.”

Trump hasn’t made any public statement this week to acknowledge the pain hundreds of thousands of Americans are experiencing because of the ever-worsening pandemic.

Instead, the outgoing president has been busy tweeting baseless claims about voter fraud in the election that he lost to Joe Biden while refusing to admit defeat.

Biden, who will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Jan. 20, has pledged to take a more aggressive approach in combating the virus.

“I won’t be president until January 20th, but my message today to everyone is this: wear a mask,” Biden tweeted earlier this week.

This article is written by Chris Sommerfeldt from New York Daily News and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

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