Merrick Garland is the latest participant in the Gridiron Dinner to test positive –

2nd update, 2:05 PM: So far, at least 14 participants have tested positive for Kovid at the Gridiron Club dinner on Saturday.

In a note sent to Gridiron members, club president Thomas Diffrank wrote: “As of 4pm on Wednesday, at Saturday Dinner we know of 14 guests who tested positive for Covid. There is no way to know for sure when they first became infected. But they interacted with other guests at night and we have to be realistic and hope in some more cases. “We will protect the privacy of positively tested guests, except in the case of government officials who have made their position known.”

Diffrank said Gridiron would “warn anyone who was close to a positive case.” He urged those who sit on either side of the table or on either side of the positive person to examine.

“Our main concern is the health of all our members and guests,” he wrote.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Commerce Secretary Gina Raymondo said Wednesday that they have tested positive, such as Jamal Simmons, communications director of Vice President Kamala Harris. Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Republican Joaquin Castro (D-TX) also said they tested positive.

Updated: Jamal Simmons, communications director for Vice President Kamala Harris, has tested positive for Covid.

Harris’s press secretary, Kirsten Allen, said in a statement that Simmons was “in close contact with the vice president as defined by the CDC guidelines.” He said Harris would continue to consult with a physician but was planning to continue his public schedule.

According to one participant, Simmons was among the administration officials who attended the Gridiron dinner on Saturday. He and others, including Attorney General Merrick Garland and Commerce Secretary Gina Raymondo, have tested positive.

“Jamal is isolated and working from home,” Allen said.

Previously: Attorney General Merrick Garland, a recent participant in last week’s Gridiron Dinner, tested positive for Covid-19, which could be an outbreak at a DC A-list rally that attracts cabinet members, media personalities and Capitol Hill lawmakers.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raymondo, who spoke at the event, and Republican Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Republican Joaquin Castro (D-TX) also tested positive. According to The Washington PostAt least a dozen journalists, including White House and National Security Council staff, also tested positive.

The judiciary said Garland was asked to test Wednesday afternoon “after learning he could be exposed to the virus.”

The word of a possible covid outbreak at the event sent several participants to the covid test. An employee at a site in northwestern DC said they had seen a clear increase in the past day.

Although President Joe Biden addressed a crowd of more than 600 people via video, Garland was present among the six members of the cabinet, while Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu were among the other speakers. Most participants did not wear masks, including Anthony Fawcett, the White House’s chief medical adviser, although no one else was needed in the DC public space.

White House Press Secretary Jane Sackie, who attended the event, told reporters that when it comes to making sure Biden is not released, “we continue to apply strict and strict protocol.” Saki himself tested positive last month and returned to the White House late last weekend.

Renaissance Hotel participants must show proof of vaccination, but not a negative test. There was also a slight social distance, with guests sitting at long tables.

The dinner, hosted by the Gridiron Club and the Foundation, a group of 65 Washington-based journalists, was canceled two years ago because of Covid, and its return this year signaled a return to normalcy on the DC social scene. . Later this month, White House reporters’ dinner is planning to host its high-profile event, an annual gathering that draws about 3,000 people to the Washington Hilton. The WHCA plans a test requirement for admission.

The Gridiron Dinner was a 19th-century tradition and retains some elements of a bygone era. It is a white tie, and the evening ends with the arms locks of the attendees and the singing of the “Old Long Sign”.

Another tradition in the words of the club is to serve the skit of events in the news of journalists, to sing satirical songs but do not burn, in the language of the club. This year, a comedy called “Covid Blues” has been shown, with one member acting as a faux and the other as a democratic voter. In the song: “Doctor, Doctor: We have closed schools / But it has not closed our covid blues / We are losing voters every day / Can we just throw away those masks?”

This year’s event featured, among others, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, Republican Senators Roy Blunt and Susan Collins, and Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Kloubucher, and Ed Markey. The Senate is planning a vote in the Supreme Court this week on the confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson.

Among the guests were media personalities such as Jane Paulie and Gary Trudeau, writer and historian Ron Cherno and Michael Bessclass and Dallas Cowboy icon Emit Smith.

There are some expectations that Biden will attend the WHCA dinner, where Trevor Noah will be seen as the entertainer. Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, refused to attend the WHCA dinner, but joined Gridiron in 2018 and sent his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner the following year.

This year’s event was part of the Biden Barbs – and some sharp points about Trump. According to PostSununu, a Republican, at first spoke as if he were a Trump loyalist, before telling the crowd, “She’s crazy.”

“I don’t think he’s crazy enough to keep you in the mental state. But I don’t think he would have been out if he had been in one. “

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