Robert O’Brien, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, has tested positive for COVID-19, making him the highest profile Trump official to contract the novel virus, the White House confirmed.
“National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien tested positive for COVID-19. He has mild symptoms and has been self-isolating and working from a secure location off site. There is no risk of exposure to the President or the Vice President. The work of the National Security Council continues uninterrupted,” the White House said in a statement Monday morning.
Trump responded to the news Monday afternoon while departing the White House for a North Carolina facility involved in producing a potential coronavirus vaccine.
“I haven’t seen him lately. I heard he — he tested. Yeah. I have not seen him. I’m calling him later,” Trump told reporters.
Trump said he didn’t know when O’Brien first tested positive.
It comes as new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations surge across the American South and West.
It’s unclear how O’Brien, 54, was exposed to the coronavirus or how much in-person contact he’s had recently with Trump. Their last public appearance together was on July 10 during a visit to the U.S. Southern Command in Miami.
Administration officials close to the president are regularly tested for COVID-19, and Trump receives rapid coronavirus tests on a daily basis, according to the White House.
O’Brien’s National Security Council office in the White House is near the Oval Office and Vice President Mike Pence’s West Wing office.
He is the highest-ranking official close to the president to contract the virus — but he’s not the first person connected to the Trump administration to test positive for the coronavirus.