US President Donald Trump said Katie Miller, Vice President Mike Pence's spokeswoman and wife of senior aide Stephen Miller, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The US vice president's spokeswoman became the second White House staffer this week to test positive for coronavirus, officials said on Friday, even as President Donald Trump continued to go mask-free at World War II commemoration with veterans in their 90s.
News that staffer Katie Miller had fallen ill boosted fears that the White House is at risk of becoming a viral hot spot just when Trump is leading efforts to wind down nationwide quarantine measures that have devastated the world's biggest economy.
Miller is the spokeswoman for Vice President Mike Pence, giving her frequent access to high-level meetings. She is also married to top Trump aide Stephen Miller, the speechwriter behind the administration's hardline immigration measures.
A senior administration official initially said only that a member of Pence's staff had been tested and found to have coronavirus.
Trump, speaking later at an event with Republican lawmakers, identified the person as "Katie," saying she works with Pence as a "press person." This confirmed multiple US media reports that Katie Miller was the person in question.
As recently as Thursday, Miller was seen mingling with officials at an outdoor prayer ceremony hosted by Trump and attended by dozens of people, including the wives of Trump and Pence and many senior staff.
Miller's positive test disrupted a trip by Pence to Des Moines, Iowa, with six people who may have had contact with her made to get off the airplane.
No recent contact with Trump, Pence
President Trump and Vice President Pence have not been in contact recently with a member of Pence's staff who was found to be infected with the coronavirus, a senior administration official said.
"This morning we had someone on the vice president's staff test positive and so out of abundance of caution we went back and looked into all the person's contacts most recently," the official told reporters traveling with Pence to Iowa, according to a media pool report.
The official said the staffer may have been in contact with six people who were scheduled to travel on Friday with the vice president and they were removed from the flight before it departed.