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Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Gov. Kristi Noem greet President Donald Trump and first Lady Melania Trump upon arrival at Ellsworth Air Force Base, Friday, July 3, 2020, in Rapid City, S.D. Trump is en route to Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Gov. Kristi Noem greet President Donald Trump and first Lady Melania Trump upon arrival at Ellsworth Air Force Base, Friday, July 3, 2020, in Rapid City, S.D. Trump is en route to Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

South Dakota governor, exposed to virus, joined Trump on jet


The Associated Press - July 6, 2020

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem accompanied President Donald Trump to Washington aboard Air Force One on Friday night despite having had close contact with Trump’s son’s girlfriend, who had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Trump has been in a position all along to encounter a virus that spreads from people who don’t feel sick, such as Noem, who had interacted closely at a campaign fundraiser with Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, who turned out to be infected.

Noem's spokesperson, Maggie Seidel, says the Republican governor didn't wear a mask on the plane and chatted with the president as the flight returned to Washington, D.C.

Noem had tested negative for COVID-19 shortly before welcoming Trump to South Dakota on Friday, a day after she had interacted with Guilfoyle. One photo on social media showed Noem and Guilfoyle, who is also a Trump campaign staff member, hugging. The Trump campaign announced that Guilfoyle had tested positive on Friday.

Guilfoyle's infection prompted some Republicans, such as Rep. Greg Gianforte of Montana, to take precautions against the spread of the coronavirus. He suspended in-person campaigning for his gubernatorial bid after his wife and his running mate both attended a fundraiser with Guilfoyle earlier in the week.

Noem doesn't plan anything similar, Seidel said. She cast Noem's decision to fly on Air Force One as a demonstration of how to live with the virus. Seidel pointed to comments from the World Health Organization that the spread of the virus is "rare" from asymptomatic people. But that runs counter to guidance from public health experts, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that advises people to wear masks when interacting with people outside their household.



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