New York Post, Friday, March 13, 2020
By Steven Nelson
President Trump raised fresh
questions about his response to
the coronavirus outbreak Thurs-
day when he contradicted Vice
President Mike Pence — saying
Americans in Europe will not be
allowed to come home if they test
positive for the coronavirus.
“If an American is coming back
or anybody is coming back, we’re
testing. We have a tremendous
testing setup,” Trump told report-
ers in the Oval Office a day after
imposing a travel ban on much of
Europe that begins Friday night
“We are not putting them on
planes if they’re — if it shows
Earlier Thursday, Pence — the
White House’s point man on the
crisis — said all Americans would
be allowed to return.
“I’d leave that decision to every
family, but there is no barrier to
their kids or any American com-
ing home,” Pence said on Fox
News. “They’ll go through a pro-
cess, they will self-quarantine,
but they can all come home.”
Two of the nation’s major air
carriers — Delta Air Lines and
American Airlines — told travel-
ers that Americans returning
from Europe must be repatriated
through 11 preapproved airports,
including JFK and Newark.
Flights can also land at Wash-
ington, DC’s Dulles Airport, but
two other major international air-
ports on the East Coast — Boston
and Philadelphia — are excluded.
Pence earlier said returning
Americans will be asked to “self-
quarantine regardless of their
symptoms or what their condi-
tion might be.”
The White House and Pence’s
office did not respond to a re-
quest for comment on airport
screening on returning Ameri-
cans, and whether they will be
tested before boarding planes to
the United States.
As coronavirus cases grow,
Trump announced on Wednesday
a sweeping 30-day ban on citizens
from 26 different countries that
are part of the European Union’s
Schengen Area — which has no
passport controls within its bor-
ders — from entering the US.
The order hit some of Europe’s
largest and powerful nations, in-
cluding Belgium, France, Ger-
many and Spain — which are
some of America’s closest allies
— without warning.
It doesn’t cover travel from na-
tions outside of the zone, includ-
ing the United Kingdom, Ireland
and many Eastern European na-
tions like Serbia, Ukraine, Belarus
Trump’s order enraged Euro-
pean officials in Brussels.
“The European Union disap-
proves of the fact that the US de-
cision to improve a travel ban was
taken unilaterally and without
consultation,” European Com-
mission President Ursula von der
Leyen and European Council
President Charles Michel said in
a joint statement.
Most airlines had already sus-
pended service to Italy, which is
also in the Schengen Area and
under an intense lockdown as of-
ficials in Rome battle the worst
outbreak on the continent.
Trump’s contradiction of Pence
was not the first point of confu-
sion in the travel-ban rollout.
During his initial announce-
ment, Trump said the ban would
apply to cargo shipments. He later
said on Twitter the restrictions
applied to “people not goods.”
Trump’s order came as US cor-
onavirus cases topped 1,200.
Additional reporting by Mark
Confusion’s in the air at WH
on travel ban
A top aide to Brazil’s presi-
dent tested positive for the
coronavirus on Thursday after
coming in contact with Presi-
dent Trump at Mar-a-Lago
over the weekend.
Fábio Wajngarten, the com-
munications secretary for
President Jair Bolsonaro, was
among a delegation of Brazil-
ian government officials who
met with Trump and dined
with him at the president’s
Florida resort last Saturday.
He posted a photo on Insta-
gram of himself standing with
Trump and Vice President
Mike Pence while wearing a
“Make Brazil Great Again” hat.
Trump on Thursday seemed
unmoved when asked whether
he came in contact with Waj-
ngarten at his private club.
“I don’t know if the press
aide was there. If he was there,
he was there,” he told report-
ers during an Oval Office
meeting with Irish Prime
Minister Leo Varadkar.
The White House said later
that it was monitoring the sit-
“Exposures from the case
are being assessed, which will
dictate next steps,” press sec-
retary Stephanie Grisham said
in a statement.
“Both the president and vice
president had almost no inter-
actions with the individual who
tested positive and do not re-
quire being tested at this time.”
She said the White House
Medical Unit and the Secret
Service were working to keep
the “first and second families
and all White House staff
But Grisham added
that there was no need for
Trump to get tested yet.
“To reiterate CDC guide-
lines, there is currently no in-
dication to test patients with-
out symptoms, and only peo-
ple with prolonged close ex-
posure to confirmed positive
cases should self-quarantine,”
Bolsonaro and other mem-
bers of his delegation were
also being tested for the virus,
and results were expected to
be released on Friday.
Wajngarten came down with
flu-like symptoms after re-
turning to Brazil and was
taken to a military hospital to
be tested for the virus.
He was awaiting the results
of a second test for confirma-
tion on Thursday. Mark Moore
Don ‘exposed’ in this pic?
cold snap: Vice President Mike Pence, President Trump and Brazilian presidential aide Fabio
Wajngarten pose at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday. Wajngarten has now tested positive for the coronavirus.
Business / Page 27