On Thursday morning, a group of about 20 security officers, including intelligence officials, took a walk around the event, watching the locations at the top of Mount Rushmore amphitheater, the press area and the stage where the President will speak. Only two members of this group wore a mask. a separate group of half a dozen uniformed officers collecting tape measure at the entrance to the park were not wearing masks. But every agent who monitored the participants at the entrance was hidden hours later.
As Trump and Pence repeat regular travel itineraries after months of lock-in caused by a pandemic, the dangers posed by the large U.S. Secret Service staff accompanying them have become apparent, as about a dozen agents – if not more – have been tested positive. for the virus, sources familiar with the situation said.
The health risk has emerged as a pain for many within the body, with sources describing an increased sense of anxiety and anger about putting themselves in what some see as irrational risk. A source in the agency said there was “growing anger and frustration” among some in the Secret Service over what they saw as “unnecessary travel and exposure” due to Trump and Pence’s trip.
“Even Trump’s ardent supporters are tired,” a source close to the agency said. “We signed up to get him a bullet, we didn’t sign up to get sick for him for no good reason.”
In addition to the agents who have fallen ill, many others have been forced to quarantine after coming into contact with others who have tested positive, putting pressure on the agency’s numbers as Trump and Pence continue to plan trips across the country. Each trip requires several groups of agents, who work shifts to ensure proper rest.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said the president “takes very seriously the health and safety of everyone who travels to support himself and all businesses in the White House.”
“In preparing and conducting any trip, White House Businesses are working with the Physician to the President and the White House Military Office to ensure that plans include current CDC guidance and best practices on restraint practices. COVID-19 to the greatest extent possible, “he said in a statement.
Inside the agency, some wondered how substantial Trump and Pence’s travels had been, especially the campaign sources they had previously described to CNN as partly to improve the president’s mood.
Pence’s recent travels have focused on the corona – including the states of Sun Belt where cases are on the rise – and aides have said it is important for the vice president to have an on-site view of the crisis.
The vice president’s office did not immediately return a request for comment on CNN.
“President Trump wanted me to be here to tell the people of Arizona that we are with you,” Penes said Wednesday as he met with the governor. “We’ll make sure you have what you need, when you need it, to meet right now.”
But Pence’s trip also results in an urgent need for a pandemic response that Trump is alternately blamed for. And before that, Pence communicated extensively with governors via teleconference.
The tasks required by agents often make it difficult to follow federal guidelines for social distance, although the agency said it is working to keep its employees safe.
“The health and safety of our workforce, their families and those of our protégés remains a top priority for the organization,” said Catherine Milhoan, communications director for the Secret Service. “The service continues to operate in accordance with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the US Health, Safety and Environment Program.
At least eight intelligence agents who were briefed on Pence’s details before his trip to Arizona this week showed a positive for the corona before the vice president was scheduled to travel there, according to a CNN law enforcement source.
It is unclear whether there is any overlap with Tulsa and Phoenix agents.
The positive tests forced a one-day delay in the trip so that the Secret Service could exchange a healthy team – Pence was scheduled to go to Arizona on Tuesday, but instead traveled on Wednesday. Prior to Pence’s trip, the state had set high records for both new daily cases and deaths since the state began publishing public data in mid-March.
After positive tests, quarantine agents at a hotel in Phoenix reported people familiar with the matter. Some are accidental and are being monitored by a doctor, although no treatment has yet been required, sources said.
Pence’s trip initially included several public appearances, including Yuma’s, but the trip was cut short by the recent boom in Covid’s case in Arizona. While there, Pence received updates and updates from local officials and did not leave the airport.
It came more than a week after Trump’s rally in Oklahoma, which disappointed the president due to low turnout, but nevertheless caused a stir in matters between his staff and the details of the secret service.
Although the number of agents released publicly and positively working at the Tulsa rally is two, a source familiar with the matter said the actual number is closer to 15.
Secret Service agents were tested in Talsa on June 19, a day before the rally, and those with a positive result received their results within 48 hours – meaning that some or all could be on the rally without knowing it. that they had been tested positively. Everything was tested again in Washington six days after the rally.
In order to avoid the planes, these positive agents drove back to their bases – including Dallas and Houston – to enter quarantine for at least 14 days. These agents who tested negative for Tulsa were also required to quarantine at home for 14 days. most have now decided to return to work over the weekend.
In addition to Secret Service personnel, several Trump campaigners have expressed positive results about coronavirus while working on the Tulsa rally. Many campaign officials went on quarantine after the event as a precaution. Everything was tested again days after the rally.
CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to reflect that not all people who walked before the event were walking.
CNN’s Betsy Klein and Nikki Carvajal contributed to the report.