Current and former Trump officials say CPAC failed to offer useful coronavirus updates, leaving them confused and angry about their level of exposure

President Donald Trump at CPAC in Washington on February 29. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
  • Current and former Trump administration officials and other conservative operatives were furious with the email informing CPAC attendees that someone at the conference tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • The email provided no clues about who the person was or which other attendees may have been exposed, but it made sure to note that President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were not at risk.
  • A former Trump administration official told Insider that a person under consideration for a position in the administration said CPAC’s message read “like a cult email.”
  • A well-placed conservative operative also told the official: “F— ‘expose the whistleblower.’ Why can’t conservatives expose the coronavirus person so we can take precautions?”
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A former Trump administration official told Insider that several current and former officials who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference were furious with the organisation’s email updates after a VIP attendee tested positive for the coronavirus.

One person under consideration for a position in the administration said it read “like a cult email,” according to Insider’s source.

The American Conservative Union, the organisation that stages CPAC annually, sent an email on Saturday informing attendees that someone had tested positive for the coronavirus. But beyond that, there were few helpful details.

The former administration official said their reaction to the email was, “What I am supposed to do with this?” They also said they forwarded the email to several current and former Trump administration officials, some of whom attended CPAC, and they were equally flummoxed.

The ACU’s email said that the infected attendee’s “exposure occurred previous to the conference” and that they were now quarantined and getting medical care in New Jersey. It added: “This attendee had no interaction with the President or the Vice President and never attended the events in the main hall.”

The email concluded: “Our children, spouses, extended family, and friends attended CPAC. During this time, we need to remain calm, listen to our health care professionals, and support each other. We send this message in that spirit. The Trump Administration is aware of the situation, and we will continue regular communication with all appropriate government officials.”

In addition to the people who worked or continue to work for the Trump administration, the former official discussed the email with several well-placed conservative operatives and figures in President Donald Trump’s orbit. One said, “It boggles my mind why they have chosen this route.”

Another said: “F— ‘expose the whistleblower.’ Why can’t conservatives expose the coronavirus person so we can take precautions?”

“We were all like, what do we do with this information?” the former official said of his conversations with other high-profile CPAC attendees. “There’s nothing here that’s helpful for me other than now I’m nervous about what happened.” The former official said he was particularly annoyed that the email addressed Trump and Vice President Mike Pence’s exposure risk but no one else’s.

The ACU “should have followed up and told people, ‘If you were in the green room, or you were in this spot, here’s the number for the CDC,'” the former official said. “But there was no information on that.”

Politico reported that the infected CPAC attendee “made a hobby of meeting high-profile conference speakers and taking photographs with them” and that his $US5,750 gold ticket package afforded him “access to a private lounge directly outside the green room for speakers on the conference’s main stage.”

The attendee reportedly came into contact with at least five members of Congress, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, all of whom have since self-quarantined.

The ACU said in a follow-up email on Sunday that “thousands of employees from the Gaylord National Resort and Conference Centre and the Residence Inn” had since been screened by health officials and that none showed symptoms. It added that “at this point, no other CPAC attendee, participant or staff has tested positive for coronavirus.”