President Donald Trump sometimes receives multiple coronavirus tests in a day, the White House said Tuesday, explaining his continued reluctance to wear a mask in public even as he begins to encourage his supporters to do so.
Previously, the White House had indicated Trump received regular coronavirus tests, as did people who come into close proximity to him. But the frequency of the tests — multiple per day — wasn’t known.
The White House has gone to great lengths to prevent Trump and Vice President Mike Pence from contracting the virus, even as they travel to states where cases are surging. Trump announced in May that he was taking a protective round of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial that has not yet been proven to prevent coronavirus.
Still, the high frequency of Trump’s coronavirus tests offers a new picture of the administration’s efforts to protect him from a virus that continues to rage across the country.
Speaking during a morning briefing, press secretary Kayleigh McEneny described Trump as the “most tested man in America” who doesn’t risk spreading the virus to others.
“He’s tested more than anyone, multiple times a day,” she said. “And we believe that he’s acting appropriately.”
Asked later to detail more fully his testing regimen, McEnany would say only that Trump is tested often but would not get into further specifics.
“Sometimes it is more than one time a day,” she said.
The White House has utilized the Abbott rapid test, which has drawn scrutiny for high rates of false negatives. Multiple White House aides have tested positive for the virus, including a valet who handled the President’s food and drink, the press secretary to Pence and as many as dozens of Secret Service agents who traveled ahead of the President to events in Oklahoma and Arizona.
McEneny said Trump has been “consistent” on masks, even though he refused for months to be photographed wearing one and has downplayed their importance in containing coronavirus.
On Monday, Trump tweeted a black and white photograph of himself wearing a mask while visiting Walter Reed National Medical Center two weekends ago. He wrote that some people called mask-wearing “patriotic.”
Yet a few hours later, Trump was seen at his hotel in Washington without wearing a mask, a violation of local rules.
By Kevin Liptak, CNN