• One of President Donald Trump's valet has tested positive for the coronavirus
  • Trump is said to have blown his top when told of the news
  • Trump said the news about his valet is “a little bit strange" as staff always wear masks in the White House

News that one of the presidential valets from the U.S. Navy attending to the personal needs of President Donald Trump is sick with COVID-19 underscores the vital but virtually unknown role these men play at the White House. This man, who hasn't been identified, took ill Wednesday.

U.S. presidential valets are specially selected members of the U.S. military. Past presidents have had two valets from the U.S. military (mostly from the U.S. Navy) assigned to them in a role somewhat similar to that played by butlers in the United Kingdom.

This brings into focus the role of presidential valets in assisting the president and the first family with their personal tasks. Valets also attend to the president's food and beverage needs in the White House, and during his trips to other places in the U.S. or outside the country.

Trump is reported to have received the news about his infected valet with an outburst of anger. He's said to have scolded White House staff for not doing enough to protect him from the coronavirus, which remains the most dangerous health problem in the United States.

There were 1,291,222 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and 76,894 deaths, as of 7:18 p.m. ET, Thursday, based on the Worldometer tally. The U.S. still tops the world, both in the number of cases and fatalities from the disease.

News of the valet's sickness prompted the White House to say it will test White House officials and other staff for the coronavirus every day instead of once a week.

Trump showed none of the anger when talking in public about his reaction to the news about his valet. He said he had little interaction with the infected staff.

"I've had very little contact, personal contact, with this gentleman,” said Trump at the Oval Office.

US President Donald Trump says the coronavirus crisis is worse than Pearl Harbor
US President Donald Trump says the coronavirus crisis is worse than Pearl Harbor AFP / SAUL LOEB

He claims to have been tested Wednesday and Thursday as part of his regular COVID-19 tests. Trump said the news about his valet is “a little bit strange.”

Oddly, he claims the valets and other staff in the White House wear facemasks, but news reports say the contrary is true. Trump himself has never been seen to wear a facemask in public.

“A lot of people in the White House wear masks,” claimed Trump.

White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said they were recently notified by the White House Medical Unit a member of the United States Military has tested positive for coronavirus.

"The President and the Vice President have since tested negative for the virus and they remain in great health," she said.