Trump national security adviser tests positive for COVID-19

Less than a year after being named the administration’s fourth national security advisor, Robert O’Brien has contracted the deadly coronavirus

Robert O’Brien, the U.S. national security adviser, has tested positive for COVID-19. 

The diagnosis makes O’Brien the highest-ranking Trump administration official to test positive for the highly-transmissible virus that has infected more than 4 million Americans and killed nearly 150,000. 

READ MORE: Trump contradicts press secretary on how many times he’s tested for COVID

According to CNN, O’Brien had recently returned from Europe where he and his top deputy met with officials from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy. 

In photos released by the National Security Council, O’Brien was photographed last week among international leaders where he did not wear a mask nor did he practice social distancing. 

However, Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg News broke the story stating that her source told her that O’Brien contracted the virus at a family function. 

O’Brien was named the administration’s fourth national security adviser after the departure of John Bolton in September 2019. He has not been active in the management of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. That responsibility has largely been handled by his deputy, Matthew Pottinger

However, he told CNN that he first briefed President Donald Trump about the threat that the virus posed to the country on January 23. O’Brien has rarely appeared publicly remarking on the virus. The news outlet stated that a source called him, “the least influential national security adviser ever.” 

READ MORE: Trump claims most COVID-19 cases are mostly people who ‘have the sniffles’

It is unclear when was the last time that O’Brien met in person with the president. The two were photographed together in Miami on July 10, prior to O’Brien’s European trip. 

National Security Council staffers told CNN that they were not informed when their boss tested positive for the virus, but instead, learned of his diagnosis from the media. O’Brien “has mild symptoms and has been self-isolating and working from a secure location off-site,” the White House said in a statement. “There is no risk of exposure to the president or the vice president.”

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