© 2020 WKSU
Public Radio News for Northeast Ohio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
NPR News

At Least 8 People Test Positive For Coronavirus After Rose Garden Event For Barrett

Judge Amy Coney Barrett (R) speaks after U.S. President Donald Trump announced that she will be his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett (R) speaks after U.S. President Donald Trump announced that she will be his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House.

Updated on Sunday at 9:28 a.m. ET

A week ago, more than 100 people gathered in the White House Rose Garden to celebrate President Trump's third nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett. Guests mingled, hugged and kissed on the cheek, most without wearing masks. An indoor reception followed the outdoor ceremony.

Seven days later, at least eight people who were at the ceremony have tested positive for the coronavirus, including a journalist who was covering the event. Several more of the president's closest aides and advisers have also tested positive.

Here are the officials and lawmakers who attended who have tested positive:

The president and first lady

President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Judge Amy Coney Barrett walk into the Rose Garden before Trump announces Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
President Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Judge Amy Coney Barrett walk into the Rose Garden for last Saturday's nomination announcement. The first couple have since tested positive for the coronavirus.

President Trump announced early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive. In introducing Barrett and pledging a swift confirmation in the Senate, the Trump campaign appeared to be finally making progress toward shifting the focus of the campaign away from the coronavirus.

Less than a week later, the president would fly to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment after his own diagnosis. Barrett tested negative on Friday.

Kellyanne Conway

Kellyanne Conway and Attorney General William Barr talk with guests in the Rose Garden.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
Kellyanne Conway and Attorney General William Barr talk with guests in the Rose Garden. The former White House adviser tested positive on Friday night.

Trump's now former senior adviser sat toward the front. She tested positive on Friday and said her symptoms are mild. Conway also reportedly participated in debate preparations inside the White House this week.

Mike Lee

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and his wife Sharon Lee walk into the Rose Garden for President Trump's Supreme Court announcement.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and his wife, Sharon Lee, walk into the Rose Garden last Saturday. The senator tested positive five days later.

Sen. Mike Lee announced a positive test result on Friday. He was seen hugging and kissing other guests and not wearing a mask at the event.

The Utah Republican is also a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and met with Barrett earlier this week, again without masks. Lee says he will isolate for 10 days.

Thom Tillis

Republican senators Rep. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) in the Rose Garden.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
Among the Republican senators at the event are (second row from left) Deb Fischer, Marsha Blackburn, Mike Crapo, Thom Tillis, Josh Hawley, Ben Sasse and Mike Lee. Although he wore a mask, Tillis later tested positive.

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., also received a positive test on Friday. Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee attended the Rose Garden announcement. Tillis wore a mask during the ceremony, but several of his colleagues did not.

Tillis participated in a Senate debate in North Carolina on Thursday.

He is the second Judiciary Committee member to test positive. He said he will isolate for 10 days. More positives from the Judiciary Committee could impact Barrett's confirmation timetable.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Friday the hearings will proceed as planned.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., has also tested positive. He is not on the Judiciary Committee and did not attend the Rose Garden event.

The Rev. John Jenkins

Notre Dame President Father John Jenkins stands at back right as former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks with guests in the White House Rose Garden.
Alex Brandon / AP
Notre Dame President the Rev. John Jenkins stands in the background at right as former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks with guests in the White House Rose Garden. Both men have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Notre Dame President the Rev. John Jenkins attended Saturday's event to celebrate Barrett, an alum who taught for 15 years at Notre Dame's law school. After testing positive, he said in a statement that he "regrets his error in judgement" in deciding not to wear a mask.

Chris Christie

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was also at last Saturday's event, says he has tested positive and will be receiving medical attention. He, like many guests at the event, did not wear a mask and was photographed in close proximity greeting senior White House officials and Attorney General William Barr. A Justice Department spokesperson said Saturday that Barr has been tested twice and that both times, the result was negative.

Later Saturday, Christie said he had checked into the hospital, in consultation with his doctors. "While I am feeling good and only have mild symptoms, due to my history of asthma we decided this is an important precautionary measure," he tweeted.

Other Trump officials and aides test positive

Assistant to the President and Director of Oval Office Operations Nicholas Luna, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Dan Scavino, Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller, and counselor to the President Hope Hicks walk to Marine One to depart from the South Lawn of the White House on Sept. 30.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP via Getty Images
White House staffers and advisers Dan Scavino, Jared Kushner, Stephen Miller and Hope Hicks walk across the South Lawn to Marine One on Wednesday.

Three other officials close to the president have also tested positive this week.

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien announced a positive test late Friday night.

Hope Hicks, one of the president's closest aides, tested positive on Thursday. Her positive diagnosis appears to have spurred the president to get tested on Thursday night. Hicks felt unwell after a campaign event Wednesday night and attempted to isolate on the Air Force One flight back to Washington. She did not attend the Rose Garden event.

Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, has also tested positive. The RNC says McDaniel has been home in Michigan for the past week.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: October 3, 2020 at 12:00 AM EDT
In a previous version of this story, we incorrectly said Kellyanne Conway sat in the front row at the Rose Garden event. Pictures show her seated in the second row. In addition, the story said Sen. Mike Lee received a positive test result on Friday. Actually, he announced on Friday that he had tested positive the day before. In an earlier caption, we incorrectly referred to Sen. Deb Fischer as Rep. Deb Fischer.