Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is quarantining after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus, but he himself “has been tested and is negative,” the State Department announced Wednesday.
“Secretary Pompeo has been identified as having come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID,” a State Department spokesperson said. “For reasons of privacy we can’t identify that individual.”
“The Secretary has been tested and is negative. In accordance with CDC guidelines, he will be in quarantine,” they said. “He is being closely monitored by the Department’s medical team.”
It is unclear when or where the top US diplomat came into contact with the individual who tested positive. CNN has reached out to the State Department for further details.
Pompeo’s Wednesday schedule listed him as having no public appointments. President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold a Cabinet meeting Wednesday morning. Dozens of people in Trump’s orbit, as well as the President himself, have tested positive for coronavirus. Pompeo visited the White House on Friday.
Pompeo was slated to meet with President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to succeed him, Antony Blinken, on Thursday for the first time, CNN reported this week. He will no longer meet in person with Blinken, sources familiar with the meeting tell CNN. It is unclear if the meeting will take place virtually.
The news of Pompeo’s exposure to the disease comes as the Trump administration has hosted a slew of in-person holiday parties at both the White House and the State Department, even as the United States’ daily Covid case counts and death rates continue to climb.
Pompeo’s office has canceled two holiday gatherings for foreign ambassadors in Washington that were scheduled to take place at the department Wednesday and where Pompeo was scheduled to give remarks, according to an internal schedule reviewed by CNN.
He and his wife, Susan Pompeo, did not attend a reception Tuesday for family members of diplomats stationed at dangerous posts overseas, a source familiar with the event told CNN. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun attended and gave remarks in his place. 900 people were invited to that event, but a mere fraction actually attended. The Washington Post was first to report on Pompeo skipping the event and its sparse attendance.
The American Foreign Service Association, the professional association and labor union for the US foreign service, in early December urged the State Department to cancel its planned receptions, “reverse course and model responsible behavior in accordance with its own guidelines.”
Officials at the State Department had expressed outrage about the events, fearing they put employees’ health and well-being at risk at a time when they were being told to avoid hosting gatherings and to work from home as much as possible.
Some employees were also concerned about what they saw as a lack of transparency from the State Department’s leadership about the gatherings.
The State Department is set to receive a “very limited number of (coronavirus) vaccines” this week, CNN learned from a department memo Tuesday. That memo said the vaccine would be distributed to prioritized individuals but did not say whether Pompeo or his closest advisers would be vaccinated.
CNN’s Nicole Gaouette contributed to this report.