Trump loyalists hit by new coronavirus wave after White House election party
- Latest cases in US president’s orbit include long-time adviser Corey Lewandowski and Republican lobbyist Jeff Miller
- Billionaire shipping magnates Elizabeth and Richard Uihlein, who are among the Trump’s biggest donors, also tested positive, though they were not at the event
It is unclear if either of them contracted the virus at the White House.
Billionaire shipping magnates Elizabeth and Richard Uihlein, who are among the president’s biggest donors, also tested positive for the virus, though they did not attend the party. Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Richard Walters, who also was not present, tested positive on Thursday, according to a party official.
Bloomberg News previously reported that a number of others who attended the November 3 White House event – including Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Trump campaign adviser David Bossie – also contracted the virus.
About 200 people attended the party, mingling in close quarters largely without masks. But it is not certain whether those who attended the party contracted the virus at the event.
Elizabeth Uihlein, the chief executive officer of shipping-supply company Uline Inc., announced her illness in a memo sent to her roughly 7,000 employees on Wednesday afternoon. Richard Uihlein is the company’s chairman.
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“After all these long months, I thought we’d never get it,” she wrote. “Well, Trump go[t] it … If we had not been around people with Covid[-19], we would not have been tested.”
In a statement, Uline said the company does not disclose health information about specific employees, citing health privacy law.
“Uline has instituted numerous changes to normal operating policies to respond to Covid-19 with health and safety in mind,” the Wisconsin-based company said. “As we are made aware of positive cases among Uline personnel, we continue to promptly notify others who may be exposed to the virus, so the proper protocols can be quickly put into place.”
In a separate statement, Elizabeth Uihlein said that neither she nor her husband attended an event at the White House on November 3. She said she was exposed to the virus through a friend.
The Uihleins, who are worth around US$4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, are outspoken Republicans and have donated tens of millions of dollars to Trump and conservative causes in recent years.
Elizabeth Uihlein has been critical of government restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. In March, she sent an email to dozens of Illinois lawmakers saying that “while you may think that government-enforced closing of events, schools” helps prevent the virus, it also contributes to “unnecessary panic and fear in the American people”.