KEY POINTS

  • Trump went for a surprise drive-by to greet his supporters in October 2020
  • During the drive-by, Trump was accompanied by at least two Secret Service agents wearing respirators and eye protection in the presidential limo
  • Nearly 900 Secret Service employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic: Records

The Secret Service agents who accompanied former President Donald Trump in his infamous drive-by in 2020 had previously been diagnosed with COVID-19, a new book has revealed.

The new book written by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender and titled “Frankly We Did Win This Election” revealed that the Secret Service agents who accompanied Trump in the surprise limo ride already had some immunity after recovering from a previous coronavirus infection. 

In October last year, Trump, who was undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at the time, had come under scrutiny after he went on a surprise drive-by visit to supporters waiting outside the Walter Reed military medical center. 

During the drive-by, the former president was accompanied by at least two Secret Service agents wearing respirators and eye protection in the presidential limo. This led critics to slam Trump for putting the agents at risk, with a doctor calling the stunt “insane,” as reported by The Guardian.

“For political theater. Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater. This is insanity,” James Phillip, an attending physician at Walter Reed, had said.

Nearly 900 Secret Service agents and personnel were diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 1, 2020, and March 9, 2021, according to records obtained by watchdog group CREW through the Freedom of Information Act in June. 

Among the 900 people who tested positive, 881 were active employees. The figures included 477 Special Agents, 249 from the Uniformed Division, 131 in Administrative, Professional or Technical positions, 12 Investigative Protection Officers and 12 Technical Security Investigators. The records did not specify details about the employees. 

During his term, Trump and then-Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly flouted COVID-19 safety protocols, reports said. Both held large-scale rallies where most attendees did not follow mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines from public health agencies. 

The White House also relied heavily on rapid COVID-19 tests, which yielded false positive and negative results. However, Trump stopped getting his daily COVID-19 test, believing himself to be safe as the staff around him were getting tested, Bender wrote in his book. 

Multiple staff members and Trump officials later tested positive for the novel coronavirus, including former First Lady Melania Trump and then-White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. 

Donald Trump is seen in the presidential limousine as he returns to the White House on November 7, 2020 after a round of golf in Virginia Donald Trump is seen in the presidential limousine as he returns to the White House on November 7, 2020 after a round of golf in Virginia Photo: AFP / ALEX EDELMAN