Trump valet has coronavirus; president again tests negative

US President Donald Trump gestures during a meeting about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response with Texas Governor Greg Abbott in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US, May 7, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 07 May 2020

Trump valet has coronavirus; president again tests negative

WASHINGTON: A member of the military serving as one of President Donald Trump’s valets has tested positive for the coronavirus, the White House said Thursday. It said Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have since tested negative for the virus and “remain in good health.”
It marked the latest coronavirus scare for the president, and the first known instance where a person who has come in close proximity to the president has tested positive since several people present at his private Florida club were diagnosed with COVID-19 in early March. The person tested positive on Wednesday, the White House said.
The White House was moving to shore up its protection protocols to protect the nation’s political leaders. Trump said that some staffers who interact with him closely would now be tested daily. Pence told reporters that both he and Trump would now be tested daily as well.
Trump, 73, said the incident was a bit concerning. “It’s a little bit strange but it’s one of those things,” he told reporters. “As I said, you know, I said yesterday, governor, all people are warriors in this country. Right now we’re all warriors.”
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement, “We were recently notified by the White House Medical Unit that a member of the United States Military, who works on the White House campus, has tested positive for Coronavirus.”
He added, “The President and the Vice President have since tested negative for the virus and they remain in great health.”
A person familiar with the matter said the member of the military who tested positive was one of the president’s valets. Several valets cater to the president and his guests at the White House, including serving meals and providing drinks.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
Trump told reporters that he was tested Wednesday and again Thursday. He added, “I’ve had very little contact, personal contact, with this gentleman.”
Trump said the health scare showed the “fallacy” of calls for widespread nationwide testing. “Testing is not a perfect art,” he said, adding, “Even when you test once a day somebody could, something happens where they catch something.”
The White House began instituting safety protocols nearly two months ago, including frequent temperature checks. Last month it began administering rapid COVID-19 tests to all those in close proximity to the president, with staffers being tested about once a week.
Federal guidance has been that a person who was exposed to a confirmed case of the virus should self-isolate for 14 days, but a different set of recommendations apply to those deemed essential workers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says essential workers can continue to report to work as long as they monitor their temperature at least twice a day and wear a mask.
Trump and Pence have generally refrained from wearing masks, citing the fact that they are regularly tested.
Trump told reporters his valets wear masks, and claimed “a lot of people in the White House wear masks.”

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France tells Turkey it won’t give in to ‘intimidation attempts’

Updated 17 min ago

France tells Turkey it won’t give in to ‘intimidation attempts’

  • Government spokesman says France 'will never renounce its principles and values'
  • Emmanuel Macron has vowed to crack down on extremism after the killing and beheading of a school teacher

PARIS: France will continue its fight against Islamic extremism despite criticism from Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and will not give in to “destabilization and intimidation attempts,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Wednesday.
France “will never renounce its principles and values,” Attal said after a cabinet meeting, underscoring “a strong European unity” behind its stance against Islamic violence after the beheading of a French teacher on October 16.
The history teacher, Samuel Paty, was killed while walking home from his school in a Paris suburb by an 18-year-old after a social media campaign criticized him for showing students cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a lesson on free speech.
His killing prompted an outpouring of anger in France, which has faced a wave of jihadist attacks since the January 2015 massacre of 12 people at the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
The paper, which had drawn the ire of Muslims worldwide after publishing cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, republished the images last month to mark the opening of a trial for suspected accomplices in the Charlie Hebdo attack.
French President Emmanuel Macron mounted a staunch defense of France’s secular tradition after Paty’s killing, and vowed to crack down on Islamic radicalism, in particular by closing mosques suspected of fomenting extremist ideas.
That prompted Erdogan to accuse Macron of unfairly targeting France’s Muslim community, and fueled the latest diplomatic spat between the two NATO allies in recent months.
Charlie Hebdo further inflamed Turkish critics Wednesday after it ran a front-page cartoon of Erdogan that portrayed him drinking a beer in his underwear, while lifting the skirt of a woman wearing a hijab to reveal her naked bottom.
“Ooh, the prophet!” the character says in a speech bubble, while the title proclaims “Erdogan: in private, he’s very funny.”