Brazilian president who shook Donald Trump’s hand ‘tests positive’ for coronavirus


Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for coronavirus, according to local reports.

One of the major newspapers in Rio de Janeiro, Journal O Dia, reported the news. President Donald Trump dined with Bolsonaro at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday night and shook hands with his fellow world leader.

Bolsonaro was checked for the disease after his aide Fabio Wajngarten tested positive for it. The results of a second test on the Brazilian president are expected to be known on Friday.

On Thursday, Trump brushed aside concerns about the encounter – the latest in a series of brushes the president has had with the highly-contagious disease.

Both Bolsonaro and Wajngarten, his press secretary, were at the Winter White House Saturday night.

Trump and the first family have resisted going into self-quarantine despite other lawmakers who came into contact with those testing positive for the disease going into voluntary isolation.

Other world leaders, too, are self-quarantining. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in a voluntary 14-day quarantine after his wife, Sophie, tested positive for the disease.

Several members of the first family were at the Winter White House that night where there was a birthday party for Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., in addition to the working dinner for the Brazilian delegation.

One of those was Ivanka Trump, who, it was revealed late Thursday, had another brush with the disease.

She and Attorney General Bill Barr posed for a photograph with Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton on March 5 – days before he tested positive for coronavirus.

They were meeting as part of a meeting between officials from the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US. The next day, Ivanka Trump attended the dinner at Mar-a-Lago with her father and Bolsonaro.

Wajngarten, the Bolsonaro aide who was at the dinner and the birthday party, tested positive for the virus, setting off a chain of events on Thursday, including a test for his boss. Brazil has at least 73 confirmed cases of coronavirus and zero deaths thus far.

The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald reported on Thursday that Bolsonaro took two tests: ‘The result should be ready. But the presidential palace is now saying the result will only be released Friday, which likely means he had a second test, and that one takes longer,’ he wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he would self-quarantine and be tested for the virus. The South Carolina senator was at Mar-a-Lago this weekend.

‘Senator Graham was at Mar-a-Lago last weekend. He has no recollection of direct contact with the President of Brazil, who is awaiting results of a coronavirus test, or his spokesman who tested positive,’ Graham’s office said in a statement.

‘However, in an abundance of caution and upon the advice of his doctor, Senator Graham has decided to self-quarantine awaiting the results of a coronavirus test. This is a precautionary measure. He will continue to work from home,’ his office noted.

Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida also said that he will self-quarantine after he met with the Brazil delegation, which included Wajngarten.

President Trump, who was photographed standing next to Wajngartenn and Vice President Mike Pence at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday night, said Thursday he was ‘not concerned’ about possibly contracting the virus.

‘Let’s put it this way: I’m not concerned,’ Trump told reporters Thursday while meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham addressed the situation before reports of Bolsonaro’s test.

‘The White House is aware of public reports that a member of the Brazilian delegation’s visit to Mar-a-Lago last weekend tested positive for COVID-19; confirmatory testing is pending. Exposures from the case are being assessed, which will dictate next steps. Both the President and Vice President had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive and do not require being tested at this time,’ she said, referring to Wajngarten.

‘As stated before, the White House Medical Unit and the United States Secret Service has been working closely with various agencies to ensure every precaution is taken to keep the First & Second Families, and all White House staff healthy,’ she noted.

‘To reiterate CDC guidelines, there is currently no indication to test patients without symptoms, and only people with prolonged close exposure to confirmed positive cases should self-quarantine,’ Grisham said. ‘We are monitoring the situation closely and will update everyone as we get more information.’

Wajngarten accompanied his boss on the Florida visit, which included meetings with officials and the dinner at Mar-a-Lago.

The encounter was the latest brush Trump has had with the coronavirus. An attendee at CPAC, the annual conservative conference that the president addressed at the end of February, tested positive for the virus.

The American Conservative Union, which sponsors the conference, was quick to say the person had no direct contact with Trump or Pence, who also spoke. But three lawmakers went into self-quarantine because they did and all had contact with the president: new White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Rep. Doug Collins and Rep. Matt Gaetz.

Gaetz was also at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday night for the dinner and birthday party. Additionally, the Florida Republican flew back to Washington D.C. with the president on Air Force One on Monday.

The president has not been tested for the coronavirus, according to the White House.

Senator Scott said in a statement on Thursday that, when he met with the president in Brazil in Miami on Monday, he was in the same room as the Wajngarten.

‘While I do not believe I interacted with the infected person, that individual was in the same room as me,’ Scott said.

‘The embassy said the person had no symptoms leading up to or the day of the conference,’ he noted. ‘After consulting with the Senate’s attending physician and my personal doctor, I have been told that my risk is low, and I don’t need to take a test or quarantine.’

He said, however, he would self-quarantine out of ‘an abundance of caution.’

‘I am feeling healthy and not experiencing any symptoms at this time,’ Scott said.