Gaetz says he has coronavirus antibodies

GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), a top ally of President Trump, revealed Saturday that he has coronavirus antibodies while denying a report that he was infected with the virus itself.

“This story is false. I have the antibodies, not the virus,” Gaetz tweeted. He added in another tweet that he has “zero symptoms.”

The Florida Republican pushed back on a Politico story that said he had told multiple people on Capitol Hill and in the White House that he had contracted the coronavirus.

Gaetz’s office did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment on the report. Politico noted at the time that Gaetz and his staff did not respond to a request for comment for its report.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while a coronavirus antibody test is able to detect if a person has been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, at some point in the past, a positive antibody test does not necessarily mean that person is currently infected.

The news came as an official familiar with the matter confirmed to The Hill on Saturday that multiple White House staffers have tested positive following news Friday night that White House chief of staff Mark Meadows had contracted the virus.

It was not immediately clear when Meadows first tested positive, but he was at the Trump campaign’s headquarters in Arlington, Va., on Tuesday afternoon with dozens of other staffers and was not wearing a mask at the time.

Meadows’s diagnosis was first reported by Bloomberg News, which said that campaign aide Nick Trainer had also tested positive. The White House was expected to conduct contact tracing for those in the building who had recent contact with Meadows.

Gaetz, who won reelection to his House seat this week, drew attention in March for wearing a gas mask on the House floor during a vote on an emergency funding bill to fight the spread of COVID-19 as it first made its way across the country. 

“Reviewing the coronavirus supplemental appropriation and preparing to go vote,” Gaetz tweeted ahead of the vote, including a photo of himself wearing the mask.

Gaetz initially maintained that he was within his rights to wear the device on the House floor despite the sergeant-at-arms requesting that he remove it in the chamber.

The GOP lawmaker later acknowledged in a statement to The Hill that “House rules do not explicitly allow medical headgear even at this time of heightened concern,” adding, “This is a rule that should be revisited.”

Gaetz, along with other GOP legislators such as Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), was forced to self-isolate after possible exposure to the virus in late February at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where they interacted with a person who later tested positive.

A fervent Trump supporter, Gaetz delivered an address at the Republican National Convention in August in which he aimed attacks at Democratic nominee Joe Biden, including references to the Biden campaign’s limited number of in-person events that were meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“I’m speaking from an auditorium emptier than Joe Biden’s daily schedule. But we are a nation of full hearts and clear minds,” Gaetz said at the time. 

As of Saturday morning, Biden was leading Trump in the states of Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Georgia as absentee ballots continued to be counted.

The Trump campaign has filed multiple lawsuits in several states in an effort to halt vote counting, with the president claiming without evidence that there have been multiple cases of voter fraud in a Democratic attempt to steal the election from him.

Tags 2020 election antibody test coronavirus antibodies coronavirus covid-19 Donald Trump Doug Collins Florida House Joe Biden Mark Meadows Matt Gaetz Politico Ted Cruz

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