Robert O’Brien, the national security advisor for U.S. President Donald Trump, has tested positive for COVID-19, the White House confirmed on Monday.
“He has mild symptoms and has been self-isolating and working from a secure location off-site,” the White House said in a statement. “There is no risk of exposure to the President or the Vice President.”
The diagnosis has made O’Brien, a top aide for Trump and the president’s fourth national security advisor, the highest-ranking U.S. official known to have tested positive for coronavirus.
The White House statement came shortly after multiple U.S. media outlets broke the news.
O’Brien, 54, has been out of the office since late last week, Bloomberg News reported on Monday morning, citing people familiar with the situation.
He left his office in the White House last Thursday, CNN reported, citing a source.
O’Brien reportedly came down with coronavirus after a family event and has been isolating at home while still running the National Security Council (NSC), doing most of his work by phone.
Part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, the NSC advises the President on national security and foreign policy.
O’Brien, whom Trump tapped to lead the agency in September 2019, recently returned from Europe, where he met with officials from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy.
The White House recently ended regular temperature checks for all those entering the White House complex, but those who will come into close contact with Trump are still given rapid tests.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during a briefing last week that Trump has tested “often.”
“As I’ve made clear from this podium, the president is the most tested man in America,” McEnany told reporters at the White House. “He’s tested more than anyone, multiple times a day, and we believe that he’s acting appropriately.”
However, Trump has dismissed the claim that he takes more than one test a day.
“I didn’t know about more than one. I do take probably, on average, a test every two days, three days,” he told reporters during a White House press briefing last week. “I don’t know of any time I’ve taken two tests in one day, but I could see that happening.”
Last week, two White House executive offices closed their cafeterias because an employee tested positive for coronavirus.
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