Dec 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: West Wing fears COVID spread after Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis attends WH party

Jenna Ellis

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump's lawyer Jenna Ellis has informed associates she tested positive for the coronavirus, multiple sources tell Axios, stirring West Wing fears after she attended a senior staff Christmas party on Friday.

Driving the news: There are concerns about the potential for another White House superspreader event, though it was unclear whether Ellis posed a risk when she attended. Ellis declined to confirm the diagnosis to Axios.

  • "People brought their families," said one senior White House official who attended the party and has since been informed of Ellis' diagnosis.
  • The revelation follows Sunday's news that Ellis' legal sidekick Rudy Giuliani was hospitalized after testing positive.

Behind the scenes: Ellis showed up to the White House senior staff party in the East Wing on Friday as the guest of Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro and was not seen wearing a mask, according to sources who attended the indoor event.

  • "She had the nerve to show up at the senior staff Christmas party knowing everyone was furious with her for constantly stirring Trump up with nonsense," said a senior administration official.
  • Ellis and Giuliani have fanned conspiracy theories about Trump's loss to Joe Biden as they have sought to keep alive legal challenges or avenues to overturn the election's results.
  • The official said the news of her diagnosis after attending the party compounded this anger.

The bottom line: When I gave Ellis visibility of my reporting on Monday night — that she had tested positive and that some senior staff weren't happy — she replied that it was "rude" to text her after midnight, adding, "You must be more informed than me because I haven't heard that."

  • Three senior White House officials told Axios they had been informed of Ellis' diagnosis.
  • I followed up by asking Ellis repeatedly whether she wanted to deny our reporting that she has COVID and had informed the White House of this fact. Ellis did not reply.
  • Navarro did not respond to a request for comment.
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