Pentagon says no state of alert change after Trump assessments constructive for coronavirus
(L-R) Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley hold an end of year press conference at the Pentagon on December 20, 2019 in Arlington, Virginia.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said Friday there were no changes to the Defense Department’s state of alert as the world reacted to the news of President Donald Trump’s positive coronavirus test results.
“The U.S. military stands ready to defend our country and interests. There’s no change to the readiness or capability of our armed forces. Our national command and control structure is in no way affected by this announcement,” Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.
Trump announced early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus. The announcement came hours after the president said he would begin a quarantine process after top aide Hope Hicks tested positive for coronavirus.
Vice President Mike Pence, who is next in line for the presidency, and his wife, Karen, tested negative, the White House announced later Friday.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley met with Trump at the White House on Sunday for a Gold Star Families event. Esper tested negative for coronavirus on Monday and again on Wednesday. Esper, who is currently wrapping up an international trip, will take another test on Friday.
Milley, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, tested negative on Friday morning.
Other top Pentagon leaders also were at Sunday’s event and tested negative since then: Army chief of staff Gen. James McConville; Air Force chief of staff Gen. Charles Brown; Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett; chief of space operations Space Force Gen. John Raymond; and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is also traveling, said he was administered a test for coronavirus and that it was negative. Pompeo also told reporters traveling with him that he will proceed with his plans to travel to Asia on Sunday.
Health experts say that even with a negative test, it is wise to isolate for 48 hours after exposure.