Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has tested positive for Covid-19, the president tweeted on Sunday.
Giuliani, 76 and a former mayor of New York City, has been leading Trump’s attempt to overturn his election defeat by Joe Biden, through lawsuits in battleground states.
Trump did not specify when Giuliani tested positive or if he was experiencing symptoms. Giuliani did not immediately comment. Citing an anonymous source, the New York Times reported that Giuliani was being treated at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington DC.
“Rudy Giuliani, by far the greatest mayor in the history of NYC, and who has been working tirelessly exposing the most corrupt election (by far!) in the history of the USA, has tested positive for the China Virus,” Trump tweeted, using a racist term for the coronavirus.
“Get better soon Rudy, we will carry on!!!”
Hours before Trump made the announcement, Giuliani was interviewed on Fox News. He appeared in good spirits while sharing baseless claims of election fraud during the 10-minute interview.
Though Giuliani is at high risk of complications from the virus because of his age, he has been traveling frequently in the aftermath of the election, often appearing in public without a mask.
Last week, he appeared maskless before state lawmakers in Michigan, to challenge votes in the state. On Thursday, he spoke at the Georgia capitol building in a crowded legislative session, again without a mask.
In the Michigan session, Giuliani asked one witness to remove her mask so the audience could hear her better, though she declined.
Giuliani has repeatedly been exposed to be others who tested positive, including after his son, Andrew.
A White House staffer, Andrew Giuliani said on 20 November he had tested positive for the virus and was in quarantine with mild symptoms.
Trump himself contracted Covid-19 in October, spending three days in hospital near Washington DC.
At least 40 people in the president’s orbit have tested positive since late September, including first lady Melania Trump, her son Barron, Donald Trump Jr, and senior aides and Republican politicians.
Vaccines are on the brink of approval for use but the pandemic has surged in recent months, as Trump has faced criticism for apparently giving up the fight for control.
Johns Hopkins University recorded 213,875 new cases in the US on Saturday. Amid figures worsened by Thanksgiving travel and gatherings whose full impact experts say is not yet apparent, there were 2,254 new deaths, making the full US death toll 280,979 from nearly 14.6m cases. The seven-day average for deaths from Covid-19 has climbed over 2,000.
Trump has repeatedly downplayed the coronavirus and resisted public health guidance meant to prevent the spread of the illness.
As Christmas approaches, the White House is hosting a string of holiday parties featuring large crowds indoors. Photos from a party on Tuesday showed people without masks engaging in the festivities.
On Sunday, a member of the White House coronavirus taskforce, Deborah Birx, was questioned about the contradictions between Trump’s actions and comments and public health guidance.
“I hear community members parroting back those situations, parroting back that masks don’t work, parroting back that we should work towards herd immunity, parroting back that gatherings don’t result in super-spreading events,” Birx told NBC’s Meet the Press.
“And I think our job is to constantly say those are myths.”