Rudy Giuliani, the lead attorney overseeing the long-shot crusade by President Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 election, has been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19, Salon has independently confirmed.
Trump himself first announced the diagnosis in a tweet on Sunday, one day after telling a rally crowd in Georgia "we're rounding the turn. We're rounding the corner of the pandemic."
Reports soon broke that Giuliani, 76, had been admitted to Georgetown University Hospital that day. The former New York mayor later tweeted that he had been "getting great care and feeling good," and was "recovering quickly and keeping up with everything."
Salon first reported on Friday that Christianné Allen, Giuliani's 21-year-old communications director, had been in quarantine since coming down with symptoms on Nov. 20. She had attended a campaign press event with her boss one day earlier. Allen told Salon she tested negative twice before testing positive on Nov. 28. It is unclear when Giuliani first tested positive.
After the election, Giuliani embarked on a nationwide barnstorming tour to promote the Trump campaign's false claims of election fraud, and his many maskless appearances have stoked fears that he and his entourage might have exposed a number of federal and state officials to the virus.
Giuliani, whose age puts him at higher risk for a severe infection, has traveled extensively with Trump campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis, who has been seen without a mask in close proximity to the former mayor at several so-called "hearings" regarding the baseless voter fraud allegations.
At one such event last week, the Arizona Republican Party tweeted a photo of a maskless, grinning Giuliani with a number of state officials, none of whom were wearing masks. On Sunday, the Arizona legislature canceled sessions for the next week amid concerns about contagion.
Trump's pro bono personal attorney had until his diagnosis seemingly enjoyed a streak of good fortune, having been exposed to a number of associates who later tested positive for the virus. One of them was his adult son, Andrew, who holds a vaguely defined White House post and tested positive for COVID-19 the day after attending the Nov. 19 press event like Allen.
In previous conversations with Salon, Giuliani repeatedly downplayed concerns about the virus. Following possible exposure at the Republican National Convention in August, Giuliani told Salon that he did not worry "at all" about contracting the disease and the mortality rate was "lower than most things" he might face. He also expressed confidence in a hydroxychloroquine cocktail treatment, which studies have shown to be ineffective and possibly increase the likelihood of heart failure.
"I'm not worried at all. I was checked before," Giuliani said at the time. "So was everyone I was in contact with."
"I also don't panic over it," he continued. "If I should get it now, mortality rate is lower than most things I could face. It's not the same disease it was 4 months ago. Also there are many therapies that give you 95% plus chance of staying out of hospital. In first five or six days hydroxychloroquin [sic] and zinc and possibly adding arithromycin [sic] will work for sure. It did for 5 of my friends and 99% in recent study. If we follow the science we would give people the honest information."
Giuliani also appeared to have made it through an apparent White House superspreader weekend in late September, after which at least 25 people in Trump's orbit tested positive. That weekend, Giuliani had joined campaign manager Bill Stepien and former Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., to prep the president ahead of the first debate. The group convened at the White House several times, after which everyone but Giuliani tested positive. Christie was later hospitalized.
The country has in recent days endured record numbers of hospitalizations and daily deaths. Public health experts have raised alarms that winter and the concomitant holiday and flu seasons will accelerate the deadly trend. Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last week that the upcoming months will likely be "the most difficult in the public health history of the nation."
On Monday, Trump reassured reporters that his longtime friend did not have a temperature and was feeling well.
"Rudy's doing well. I just spoke to him. No temperature," Trump said. "He actually called me early this morning. It was the first call I got . . . Greatest mayor in the history of New York. And what he's doing now is more important — and he will admit that."
Giuliani's important work as mayor including stewarding the city following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.