Robert O'Brien, national security advisor for U.S. President Donald Trump, has tested positive for COVID-19, the White House announced on Monday.
"He 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."
The diagnosis has made O'Brien, a top aide for Trump, the highest ranking White House official known to have tested positive for the virus. It's unclear when O'Brien last met with Trump. Their last public appearance together was over two weeks ago during a visit to US Southern Command in Miami on July 10.
That statement confirmed O'Brien's test results to reporters before his staff was formally informed. Several National Security Council staffers told CNN that they weren't informed that O'Brien tested positive and learned of the news from media reports.
O'Brien recently returned from Europe, where he and his top deputy met with officials from the UK, France, Germany and Italy. O'Brien took a family vacation, during which he was likely exposed to the virus, immediately following his trip to Europe, a senior administration official tells CNN.
Asked about the risk O'Brien's diagnosis poses to the President, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" Monday evening that it depends on when O'Brien was infected and the level of his exposure to Trump. "You have to have contact in a situation where you're there long enough and close enough to have an increased risk," Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said. "I don't know the contacts he had, the proper authorities are doing the contact tracing right now."
Asked about the positive test result for Robert O’Brien, Trump said he hadn't seen his top foreign policy aide recently.
"I haven't seen him lately," the president said on Monday during a brief exchange with reporters. "I heard he tested, yeah. I have not seen him. I’m calling him later."
The line recalled similar language Trump has used in the past when expressing displeasure at senior officials.
The White House recently ended regular temperature checks for all those entering the White House complex, but those who will come into close contact with Trump are still given rapid tests. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during a briefing last week that Trump tested "often." Previously, one of Trump's military valets and Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary tested positive for the virus.