Two additional Trump campaign staffers tested positive for COVID-19 Monday bringing the total to eight staffers who traveled to Tulsa for the president’s Saturday rally and have the coronavirus.
‘After another round of testing for campaign staff in Tulsa, two additional members of the advance team tested positive for the coronavirus,’ Communications Director Tim Murtaugh told DailyMail.com. ‘These staff members attended the rally but were wearing masks during the entire event.’
Upon receiving the news of more positive tests ‘the campaign immediately activated established quarantine and contact tracing protocols,’ Murtaugh added.
President Trump held his first campaign rally in months in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday night and now eight advance staffers in total have tested positive for COVID-19
The president hasn’t held rallies since early March because of coronvirus lockdowns and so Saturday was supposed to mark his triumphant return to the campaign trail
Marc Short (left), the chief of staff for the vice president, and Katie Miller (right), the vice president’s spokeswoman, are seen sans mask at Saturday night’s Tulsa rally. Miller tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year
Oklahoma politicians includings Sens. Lankford (upper left) and Jim Inhofe (center, in glasses) were among those in the audience of President Trump’s Tulsa rally Saturday night
The fresh cases of coronavirus were first reported by MSNBC.
The network reported that the campaign staff was being tested after the rally as a precaution before flying home.
The number of infected staff is expected to rise, sources told MSNBC.
On Saturday, NBC News reported that six members of the campaign advance team had tested positive for the virus.
Murtaugh told the network then that ‘per safety protocols, campaign staff are tested for COVID-19 before events.’
‘Six members of the advance team tested positive out of hundreds of tests performed, and quarantine procedures were immediately implemented,’ he said.
‘No COVID-positive staffers or anyone in immediate contact will be at today’s rally or near attendees and elected officials,’ Murtaugh said.
Saturday’s rally was supposed to symbolize the restart of the president’s 2020 campaign.
But lower-than-expected turnout at the rally dominated the headlines.
Politico reported Sunday that Trump was furious over the turnout debacle – something White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany denied at her Monday briefing.
Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said Monday that she believed the crowd estimate of 6,200 was wrong.
‘I talked of the campaign this morning, and they said it was double that at least,’ she told Fox News. ‘I do think there was a little chaos in Tulsa and they disperse the crowds early that people in the front row who were camping out were forced to leave early.’
She also suggested the turnout was low due to Sunday being Father’s Day.
‘You had it being on Father’s Day weekend, people who were scared about violence and coronavirus,’ she said. ‘But people showed up and having 11 million people watch online shows that enthusiasm exists.’
Murtaugh said on CNN Monday that the fire marshal’s estimate was wrong and that Secret Service counted around 12,000 attendees come through the magnetometers at the stadium.
‘Let’s remember that for more than a week leading up to the rally, your network and, indeed, the entirety of the mainstream news media were telling all Americans that a Trump rally is just about the most dangerous place you could be, not only because of the coronavirus, but also because of the threat of violent protests outside,’ he told CNN’s Brianna Keilar. ‘And so people were scared away.’
Murtaugh also pointed out that 12,000 is ‘approximately 11,990 more people than Joe Biden had at his last event.’
Biden has traveled about once a week since stay-at-home orders started getting lifted. He gave a speech about race in Philadephia, met members of the community in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware and traveled to Houston to meet with George Floyd’s family.
Keilar asked if any members of Biden’s campaign team had tested positive for COVID-19.
‘I don’t know because no one – I don’t think – people don’t pay very much attention to Joe Biden’s campaign, and everyone seems to be focused a lot on the president’s reelection campaign,’ Murtaugh replied.
As she departed the podium Monday, McEnany cited that more than 7 million people had watched Trump’s rally on Fox News Channel.
‘And finally, one thing that I just want to point out that was handed to me – wow, a whopping 7.7 million tuned into Fox News to watch the rally on Saturday night. Big numbers,’ McEnany said.