HIA has no plans to test staff after Trump rally; Rep. Smucker, who was at the rally, says he’s been medically ‘cleared’

Written by on October 5, 2020

HIA has no plans to test staff after Trump rally; Rep. Smucker, who was at the rally, says he’s been medically ‘cleared’

By WITF Staff

October 5, 2020

Harrisburg International Airport has no plans to quarantine or test personnel involved in President Donald Trump’s rally last weekend.

Trump and First Lady Melania Trump announced their positive test results early Friday morning, less than a week after the campaign event in Middletown. Trump aide Hope Hicks’ positive test was reported Thursday evening by Bloomberg News. 

The president and Hicks were at the rally.

Scott Miller, a spokesperson for the airport, said it is unlikely airport staff were exposed.

“No one from our staff or even the Avflight staff, where the event took place outside on their ramp, had any contact with the president or his staff on the airplane,” he said.

Instead, he said, airport personnel were only in contact with the “advance team” – campaign staff who prepare for events before the president arrives. It is not known whether any members of that advance team had been exposed to COVID-19 or whether any have tested positive.

In June, several advance team aides tested positive just before the president’s rally in Tulsa.

Miller said the airport has not communicated with the campaign since this morning’s announcement. “And we don’t expect to,” he said.

Miller said the airport will comply with recommendations from the White House or Pennsylvania Department of Health, if they make any. 

State health department spokesperson Maggi Mumma encouraged anyone who was at the rally to download the COVID Alert PA app. “If you test positive, you can alert those you came in close contact with anonymously through the app,” she said.

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-11th District, attended the rally at HIA. His office released a statement Friday morning, which began by offering “thoughts and prayers” to the Trumps and others “impacted by COVID-19.” The statement continued:

“On Saturday, September 26th, I was tested and received a negative result for COVID-19 prior to boarding Air Force One for travel with the President. I was tested again and received a negative result on Tuesday, September 29th prior to boarding Air Force Two for travel with Vice President Pence. Following the President’s positive test result, I met with the Office of the Attending Physician this morning, was administered a test and advised that my interactions with the President last Saturday do not meet their definition of exposure. The Attending Physician’s Office did not recommend that I quarantine and I was cleared to vote on the House floor today. At no point have I experienced any symptoms of COVID-19.”

Smucker urged people to follow CDC guidelines to help prevent the spread of the disease — wear a mask, regularly wash hands and practice physical distancing.

A post on Smucker’s Facebook page shows him with Trump on Air Force One:

Smucker was scheduled to appear on WITF’s Smart Talk Friday morning, but canceled because of scheduling conflicts.

Other U.S. representatives respond

Congressmen Dan Meuser (R-9th District), Scott Perry (R-10th), Fred Keller (R-12th), John Joyce (R-13th) and Mike Kelly (R-16th) also attended the rally.

Joyce declined to be interviewed. His office released a statement that said: “Over six days ago, Congressman Joyce rode on Air Force One and met briefly with the President. Out of an abundance of caution, he consulted with the Office of the Attending Physician at the U.S. Capitol, and in accordance with their guidance he will continue to follow CDC guidelines of wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing. He wishes President Trump and the First Lady well as they recover.”

Joyce’s office later updated that statement with news that Joyce’s test result was negative.

Perry’s office released a statement that said he has been tested even though he “has no symptoms and had no recent exposure to President Trump or his team.”

Meuser, Perry, Keller and Kelly tweeted about the president and first lady’s diagnoses, but did not address their potential exposure or whether they have been tested. Meuser, Keller and Kelly did not respond to requests for comment.

Lancaster County family hosted Pence, but not concerned about exposure

A Lancaster County family that hosted Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence for Tuesday’s presidential debate say they are not worried after President Trump and members of the White House staff tested positive for the coronavirus.

Both Pences have tested negative.

A person who answered the phone at the Bollinger farm in Lititz did not wish to be identified, but said the family was tested just before the debate. He said they would “possibly quarantine” if the vice president’s or second lady’s test results announced today had been positive. 

Tuesday’s event drew a crowd of more than 250 people to a tent on the property, LNP reported, with no social distancing and few wearing masks.

State representative self-quarantines; unrelated to Trump visit

State Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) said in a Facebook post that he is self-quarantining because he was in “close contact” with “the representative who tested positive for COVID-19,” an apparent reference to Rep. Paul Schemel (R-Franklin), who received a positive test result Thursday.

Diamond said his doctor told him he doesn’t need to get tested unless he develops symptoms. He said he’ll be working from home.

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WITF’s Sam Dunklau, Alanna Elder, Rachel McDevitt and Anthony Orozco contributed to this report.


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