WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in quarantine after he was exposed to someone with the coronavirus, the State Department said Wednesday. The secretary himself has tested negative so far.
The announcement provided little information about how exactly Pompeo may have been exposed to COVID-19. But the secretary of state has been patchy in his efforts to follow social distancing rules recommended by public health experts.
In certain settings he has appeared without a mask. He has hosted fancy so-called Madison Dinners. In recent days, Pompeo has hosted holiday parties that appear to violate the State Department’s own pandemic-related guidelines.
But the gatherings have been relatively sparsely attended and Pompeo canceled his appearance at one of them on Tuesday. And on Wednesday, the department canceled receptions in honor of foreign diplomats that were scheduled to be held in the afternoon, according to a document seen by POLITICO.
“Secretary Pompeo has been identified as having come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday. “For reasons of privacy we can’t identify that individual.”
The statement adds: “The Secretary has been tested and is negative. In accordance with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines, he will be in quarantine. He is being closely monitored by the department’s medical team.”
Pompeo has also canceled a number of other appointments this week, according to U.S. government documents seen by POLITICO. The State Department did not respond to emails late Tuesday seeking details on why the secretary’s schedule had changed.
Pompeo is expected to meet soon with Antony Blinken, President-elect Joe Biden’s designate for secretary of State. That meeting, the time of which State Department officials have not confirmed, is likely to be held virtually.