Trump’s Jewish outreach adviser gets COVID; stood next to Giuliani at presser

Boris Epshteyn says he’s experiencing mild symptoms; following his diagnosis, US president cancels appearance at event in Pennsylvania

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani speaks at a press conference watched by Trump campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn, right, at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC, November 19, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani speaks at a press conference watched by Trump campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn, right, at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC, November 19, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

An adviser to US President Donald Trump who focuses on Jewish outreach was diagnosed with COVID-19, he said Wednesday, a week after appearing next to Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani at a press conference in Washington.

Boris Epshteyn, a member of Trump’s campaign legal team, announced on Twitter Wednesday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

“I have tested positive for COVID-19. I am experiencing mild symptoms, and am following all appropriate protocols, including quarantining and contact tracing,” wrote Epshteyn, who is Jewish.

Epshteyn attended a press conference with Giuliani in Washington last week during which Giuliani continued to lob meritless accusations of mass voter fraud, despite presenting no evidence to support his claims.

Also in attendance was Giuliani’s son, who works at the White House and announced a day later that he had tested positive.

Epshteyn — a former Republican political strategist, New York-based investment banker and finance attorney — previously worked as a special assistant to the president. He was a strategic adviser for Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns and served as communications director for the Trump Inaugural Committee prior to entering the White House.

Epshteyn is an old friend of Trump’s son Eric, dating back to their time together at Georgetown University.

Last month, Epshteyn joined Orthodox Jews in New York for pro-Trump protests against COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. He also organized a rally following a “Jews for Trump” car convoy that rolled through Brooklyn and Manhattan last month, sparking skirmishes with opponents of the US president.

Boris Epshteyn arrives to the East Room of the White House in Washington, April 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Shortly after Epshteyn’s announcement, Trump said that he would be calling into an event in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania with Giuliani, aimed at trying to discredit the results of the 2020 election, which Joe Biden won. Trump had been widely expected to attend.

Trump’s appearance in Gettysburg was never confirmed or announced by the White House, but the Federal Aviation Administration had placed a flight restriction over the area, and Giuliani had teased it was a possibility in a radio interview en route to the event.

With hair dye streaming down his cheeks and Trump watching on television, Giuliani unleashed eyebrow-raising claims on Thursday that George Soros, China and the late Venezuelan dictator Huge Chavez conspired with Democratic “crooks” to hand the election to Biden.

In an extraordinary 90-minute press conference at the Republican National Committee in Washington, Giuliani and other members of Trump’s legal team, including Epshteyn, left no doubt they were refusing to acknowledge Biden’s win, arguing instead that a broad “national conspiracy” to deny Trump reelection was underway.

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani speaks to the press about various lawsuits related to the 2020 election, inside the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, November 19, 2020. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP)

A broad coalition of top government and industry officials said the November 3 election was “the most secure in American history.” Biden was declared the winner on November 7.

Epshteyn was just the latest in a string of White House officials to catch the virus.

Trump, first lady Melania Trump and their son Barron all recovered from coronavirus infections in October. The president spent three days in a military hospital where he was treated with experimental drugs; the first lady weathered her illness at the White House.

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, was diagnosed last week. His girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, tested positive for the coronavirus in July.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows tested positive after attending an election night party at the White House, along with a number of other officials who were at the party. Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, and other aides to the vice president tested positive for the virus last month.

Biden made Trump’s response to the virus that has killed over 260,000 Americans a top issue in the recently concluded race for the White House.

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