President Trump's lawyer Jenna Ellis has informed associates she has 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.