The Republican representative for Florida travelled extensively with Donald Trump on Monday, first in “The Beast” limousine, then aboard Air Force One from Orlando to Washington. On the flight, Mr Gaetz was informed he had come into contact with someone infected with coronavirus while attending the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland last month.
He soon self-quarantined, and after landing, hit the road to go home, skipping staying in a hotel and instead spending the night in a Walmart car park.
Interviewed the Pensacola News Journal from his car, Mr Gaetz said: “I slept in a Walmart parking lot somewhere off Interstate 85.”
After a 14-hour car journey, Mr Gaetz told reporters he planned to spend the remainder of his 14-day self-quarantine at home in Okaloosa County, Florida.
During the interview, he urged lawmakers to take extra precaution because of how much they interact with the public on a day-to-day basis.
Many commented on Mr Gaetz’s previous stunt, in which he wore a gas-mask at the White House while voting on a bill related to coronavirus.
Despite many accusing Mr Gaetz of satirising the issue, he told reporters his action was to the contrary.
He said: “I wasn’t making light of the situation.
“I only wish I had worn the gas mask at the Conservative Political Action Conference.”
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It has since transpired that several of Mr Trump’s politics inner circle members have taken to self-isolation.
They include Mr Gaetz, Doug Collins, Ted Cruz, Paul Gosar, and Mark Meadow.
The White House insists Trump doesn’t need a coronavirus test, despite the president having been in close proximity of those currently under self-isolation.
Mr Collins, Georgia’s representative, greeted Mr Trump with a handshake at an airport in Atlanta on Friday.
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This was before the two visited the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters for an update on coronavirus.
Mr Collins subsequently learned that he had also been potentially exposed at the conservative conference.
In a statement, White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said the president has not yet been tested for the virus because “he has neither had prolonged close contact with any known confirmed COVID-19 patients, nor does he have any symptoms.”
She added: “President Trump remains in excellent health, and his physician will continue to closely monitor him.”
Mr Pence, the vice president, who was also at the conference, revealed he had not been tested either.
Mr Cruz and Mr Gosar said they had came into contact with an infected man and were self-quarantining as a precaution.
All representatives and senators came into contact with the same man at the conference.
Dr Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist, told CNN that protocols on testing for the President and vice president were not surprising.
She said: “To be fair, the norm would be you would test the direct contact, so the person who actually shook hands with the person with coronavirus.
“You would only test the President and others if their direct contacts were testing positive.
“Now the exception to that would be if the President or others developed symptoms, then you would probably go ahead and test.”
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