(PresidentialInsider.com)- Attorney General Merrick Garland was among the now 72 people who contracted COVID after attending the April 2 Gridiron Club dinner in Washington DC.
Just hours after holding a news conference with FBI Director Christopher Wray last Wednesday, it was reported that Garland had tested positive for COVID-19. Garland had requested a test after learning that he may have been exposed to the virus.
While DOJ officials did not say when that exposure took place, Garland was in attendance at the Gridiron dinner the Saturday before. By last Wednesday, several officials, including Congressmen Adam Schiff and Joaquin Castro, and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo had tested positive for COVID as well after attending the Gridiron dinner.
Other prominent attendees who tested positive include Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Republican Senator Susan Collins, President Biden’s sister Valerie, Vice President Harris’ communications director Jamal Simmons, and First Lady Jill Biden’s press secretary Michael LaRosa.
Over the weekend, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who also attended the Gridiron dinner, tested positive for COVID as well.
In a statement last Wednesday, the Justice Department said the fully vaccinated and boosted Attorney General was not experiencing symptoms. But after his COVID test, he would work remotely while isolating himself at home for at least five days.
The Justice Department, along with other federal agencies, recently began loosening some of their pandemic protocols, including lifting limits on the number of people who can gather together in federal buildings and mandating masks.
During last Wednesday’s press conference, only a small number of reporters and Justice officials were masked. Most of them, including Merrick Garland, did not wear masks.
The Gridiron Dinner, a Washington DC event popular with politicians and the press had not been held since 2019 due to the COVID pandemic. By Monday, April 11, there were 72 reported COVID cases from among the hundreds who attended the April 2 super-spreader dinner.
On Sunday, Gridiron Club President Tom DeFrank said all guests were required to show proof of vaccination to attend.