Politics

Brazilian official who posed for photo with Trump tests positive for coronavirus, reports say

Key Points
  • A Brazilian official who met with President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to media reports.
  • The official, Fabio Wajngarten, posted an Instagram image of himself posing with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the White House's coronavirus task force. 
  • "Let's put it this way, I'm not concerned," Trump said Thursday.
  • White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement later Thursday that Trump and Pence "had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive and do not require being tested at this time."
A photo showing a Brazilian government official (r) posing for a photo next to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at Mar-A-Lago has tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus.

The press secretary of Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for the coronavirus within days of interacting with President Donald Trump during a visit by his boss to Mar-a-Lago, according to reports Thursday.

Trump said he's "not concerned" about his contact with the Brazilian spokesman, Fabio Wajngarten, at his Florida resort last weekend, and that he would not be tested for the disease.

But Bolsonaro has been tested for the virus, according to his son, Eduardo Bolsonaro. And two Republican senators who visited Mar-a-Lago over the weekend announced later Thursday that they would quarantine themselves as a precautionary measure.

Bolsonaro is showing no symptoms of the virus, his son tweeted. Neither of the senators, Rick Scott of Florida and South Carolina's Lindsey Graham, said that they are experiencing any symptoms.

Bolsonaro TWEET

Several days earlier, Wajngarten posted an Instagram image of himself posing with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the White House's coronavirus task force. It was not clear when the photo was taken.

In a statement Thursday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham acknowledged that Trump and Pence were in contact with the man.

"Both the President and Vice President had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive and do not require being tested at this time," she said.

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Grisham said that the White House and U.S. Secret Service are working with other agencies to "ensure every precaution is taken to keep the First & Second Families, and all White House staff healthy."

She also reiterated that "there is currently no indication to test patients without symptoms, and only people with prolonged close exposure to confirmed positive cases should self-quarantine."

Trump was asked earlier at the White House about his interaction with Wajngarten.

"I did hear something about that," Trump told reporters there. "We had dinner together in Florida at Mar-a-Lago with the entire delegation. I don't know, if the press [said he was there, then] he was there."

Trump appeared to shift his focus to Bolsonaro as he continued his response.

"But we did nothing very unusual. We sat next to each other for a period of time, had a great conversation. He's doing a terrific job in Brazil, and we'll find out what happens. I guess they're being tested right now?" Trump said.

Pressed for comment on the reports, Trump added: "Let's put it this way, I'm not concerned."

US President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during a diner at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on March 7, 2020.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

Later Thursday, Sen. Scott announced that he would self-quarantine "in an abundance of caution" after learning that Wajngarten "was in the same room as me" when Scott met with Trump in Miami on Monday.

"I have been told that my risk is low, and [that] I don't need to take a test or quarantine," Scott, a Republican, said in a statement. "However, the health and safety of the American people is my focus and I have made the decision to self-quarantine in an abundance of caution."

Scott added that he feels healthy and is not currently experiencing any symptoms of the coronavirus.

SCOTT TWEET

Graham's office said in a statement that the South Carolina senator "has no recollection of direct contact" with Bolsonaro or Wajngarten.

"However, in an abundance of caution and upon the advice of his doctor, Senator Graham has decided to self-quarantine awaiting the results of a coronavirus test," the statement said.

It is unclear if Trump has previously been in direct contact with anyone who has tested positive for the coronavirus. But he has recently interacted with multiple U.S. lawmakers who went into self-quarantine after learning that they had been in contact with an individual who was since diagnosed with the disease.

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., shook hands with Trump last Friday when the president traveled to Atlanta to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where officials there briefed him on their response to coronavirus.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., flew on Air Force One with Trump on Monday on a flight from Orlando, Florida, to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. Gaetz reportedly learned on that flight that he had been in contact with a person who was diagnosed with the coronavirus. He said he would self-quarantine about an hour after he got off the plane with Trump.