White House aide tests positive for virus ahead of Pence trip

BY JENNIFER JACOBS AND JORDAN FABIAN

WASHINGTON — Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, tested positive for coronavirus on Friday, President Donald Trump said, delaying the vice president’s departure for a trip to Iowa.

She is the second person working at the executive residence to contract the virus this week.

The White House did not officially announce Miller’s positive test and she hadn’t been identified as the infected aide until a meeting between Trump and House Republicans. In answer to a question from a reporter about the infected aide, Trump said that Pence’s “press person,” whom he identified as “Katie,” had tested positive after a reporter asked him about it.

“I don’t know much about it,” Trump said. “She’s a wonderful young woman.”

She is the only member of Pence’s press staff named Katie.

Pence was delayed for more than an hour Friday morning as six staffers who had contact with Miller were removed from his plane, according to a senior administration official. They were asked to have themselves tested for infection and to go home, the official said. Miller was not aboard.

In Iowa, Pence discussed the impact of the coronavirus on churches and the food supply.

Miller has not recently had direct contact with Trump, according to a senior administration official, but she is married to one of Trump’s closest aides, Stephen Miller.

The official declined to discuss Miller’s recent contact with the vice president.

Steps are being taken to protect Trump, Pence and others in the White House complex, a spokesman said. “In addition to social distancing, daily temperature checks and symptom histories, hand sanitizer, and regular deep cleaning of all work spaces, every staff member in close proximity to the president and vice president is being tested daily for COVID-19 as well as any guests,” said spokesman Judd Deere.

Earlier in the week, a member of the military who works on the White House grounds tested positive for the virus. Trump and Pence said Thursday that they are each now tested daily for the virus.

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