Politics

GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz says he tested negative for coronavirus, will stay quarantined after contact with Trump

Key Points
  • Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz said Tuesday that his lab test for the new coronavirus came back negative, but he will stay under self-quarantine through Thursday out of "an abundance of caution."
  • The Florida congressman said he will remain quarantined until 2 p.m. Thursday.
  • On Monday, Gaetz rode on Air Force One with President Donald Trump, where he was reportedly informed that he had previously been exposed to someone who had been diagnosed with the virus. 
Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill.
Michael Brochstein | Echoes Wire | Barcroft Media | Getty Images

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz said Tuesday that his lab test for the new coronavirus came back negative, but he will stay under self-quarantine through Thursday afternoon out of "an abundance of caution."

"We appreciate the great folks working in the United States and around the world to combat this virus," Gaetz tweeted.

The Florida congressman said he will remain quarantined until 2 p.m. Thursday.

On Monday, Gaetz rode on Air Force One with President Donald Trump on a flight to Washington, D.C., from Orlando, Fla.

During that flight, Gaetz was reportedly informed that he had previously been exposed to someone who had been diagnosed with the virus

Gaetz, a staunch Trump ally, then essentially quarantined himself in a section of the president's plane, The New York Times reported.

Trump told reporters on Capitol Hill earlier Tuesday that he has not been tested for the coronavirus since his exposure to Gaetz.

"I don't think it is a big deal. I would do it. I don't feel any reason — I feel extremely good. I feel very good, but I guess it's not a big deal to get tested and it's something I would do," Trump said.

"Again — spoke to the White House doctor, terrific guy, talented guy. He said he sees no reason to do it. There's no symptoms, no anything," Trump said.

The president was also photographed shaking hands at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday with Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., who also said he was exposed to the infected person at CPAC.

Collins, along with Gaetz and at least three other members of Congress, are currently under self-quarantine.

President Donald Trump greets Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., as he arrives on Air Force One Friday, March 6, 2020, at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Ga.
Alex Brandon | AP

Gaetz had previously mocked the growing concern about the spread of the deadly virus by tweeting a photo of himself wearing a biohazard mask.

But on Monday, he tweeted that he had been informed about his contact in late February with an attendee at the Conservative Political Action Conference who later "tested positive for COVID-19." 

"Under doctor's usual precautionary recommendations, he'll remain self-quarantined until the 14-day period expires this week," read the statement on Twitter.

Gaetz said he was not symptomatic at the time he decided to quarantine himself. His tweet Tuesday said that he continues "to feel fine and show no symptoms."

After deplaning Air Force One on Monday, video footage shows Gaetz on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews stepping backwards and raising his hand as if to keep a man approaching at a distance from him.

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GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz avoids contact after leaving Air Force One

The coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has quickly spread to more than 118,000 cases worldwide and has killed more than 4,200 people, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The Trump administration and lawmakers at every level are working to contain the spread of the virus in the United States. At least 805 cases are currently confirmed in the U.S., and at least 28 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins.