Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday is quarantining following exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, despite testing negative for the novel coronavirus himself.
In a statement shared with TPM on Wednesday morning, a State Department spokesperson said that Pompeo was “identified as having come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID.” The department would not identify the individual due to privacy reasons.
The State Department spokesperson said that although Pompeo has tested negative for COVID-19, he will be in quarantine in accordance with CDC guidelines and is being “closely monitored by the Department’s medical team.”
The announcement of Pompeo quarantining comes a day after he and his wife hosted a poorly attended large indoor holiday party, despite a notice issued by State Department leadership to employees earlier this month advising that “any non-mission critical events” should be held virtually.
According to the Washington Post, just a few of the more than 900 invitees showed up. Pompeo, who was scheduled to speak at the event, canceled his speech and tapped someone else to do it. It was unclear if Pompeo had cancelled his remarks due to his own health concerns or for another reason, but the poorly attended event was just one of the parties Pompeo planned to host during the holiday season.
The State Department brushed off criticism of the large holiday gatherings hosted by Pompeo — which flout guidance from health officials in the Trump administration who have warned against traveling and from hosting large indoor gatherings as the country reels from more than 300,000 COVID-19 fatalities — by saying there are mask-wearing requirements and social distancing guidelines.
The White House has gone full steam ahead on hosting large indoor holiday parties as well.
However, photos from Pompeo’s holiday event on Tuesday night showed attendees removing masks to eat boxed meals and sip drinks. A masked Santa also mingled at tables engaging with guests, according to the Post.