Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has tested positive for Covid-19, the president said Sunday, the latest member of his inner circle to contract the disease.
It was unclear whether Giuliani was experiencing symptoms, but at age 76 the former New York mayor is considered part of a high-risk group.
He has been seen frequently without a mask -- CNN showed film of him Thursday in Atlanta walking maskless down a hall chatting with several other people whose faces were uncovered -- and other members of his legal team presumably have been exposed.
"Giuliani, by far the greatest mayor in the history of NYC, and who has been working tirelessly exposing the most corrupt election (by far!) in the history of the USA, has tested positive for the China Virus," Trump tweeted, using a term he applies to the coronavirus that has outraged Beijing.
.@RudyGiuliani, by far the greatest mayor in the history of NYC, and who has been working tirelessly exposing the most corrupt election (by far!) in the history of the USA, has tested positive for the China Virus. Get better soon Rudy, we will carry on!!!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2020
Giuliani's diagnosis comes as he has been leading the president's defiant -- and unsuccessful -- effort to undo Joe Biden's victory in the November 3 presidential election.
If the legal tean hews to health guidance, anyone thus exposed should self-quarantine for at least a week, which could cripple Trump's already fading efforts to challenge his election loss.
The diagnosis was also a day after Trump, who long played down the severity of the pandemic and even mocked those who wore masks, held his first big political rally since the election -- before a tightly packed crowd of thousands of largely unmasked supporters in Georgia.
The United States -- the country with the most coronavirus cases and deaths in the world -- has seen a dramatic resurgence in its epidemic in recent weeks.
For the third day in a row, the United States on Saturday notched a record number of coronavirus cases in 24 hours, reaching nearly 230,000 new infections, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
A series of members of Trump's inner circle have contracted the disease since the president himself caught it weeks before the election.
They include his wife Melania, his son Donald Jr., his son Barron, his press secretary, some of his advisors, his campaign manager as well as several Republican members of Congress.
Many of them, including Giuliani, followed Trump's example, often ignoring health experts' guidance and attending White House and political events without masks.
Giuliani's son Andrew, who works in the White House, tested positive for the virus late last month.
David Gergen, a senior advisor in four US administrations, noted on CNN that while dozens of people around Trump had now contracted the virus, only one or two in Biden's camp had done so.
The lesson, Gergen said: "The cavalier attitude taken by the Trump people is only going to get you closer to catching this stuff...
"It's just as plain as it can be."