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GOP's McDaniel tests positive for coronavirus

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News

Michigan's Ronna Romney McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, has tested positive for the coronavirus. 

McDaniel, who is 47 and lives in Northville, received a positive test for COVID-19 on Wednesday afternoon after a member of her family had tested positive, an RNC spokesman said Friday morning.

The news followed President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump's diagnosis with the virus, which the president revealed early Friday in a tweet. Trump for months had downplayed the seriousness of the virus while he has campaigned for re-election. 

Trump is experiencing "mild" symptoms, is "very energetic," and remains on the job, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters Friday. Other senior White House staff have tested negative, Meadows said.

McDaniel,former chair of the Michigan Republican Party, was last with the president a week ago Friday. She has been at her home in Michigan since Saturday, her spokesman said.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, speaks during the Republican National Convention from the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020.

McDaniel did a live interview remotely with Fox News on Thursday to talk about the presidential campaign but did not mention her health.

Earlier last week, McDaniel appeared at a bus tour stop in Lansing and three or four other cities with Trump supporters.

The Michigan GOP believes that McDaniel contracted the virus after the bus tour, a spokesman said, adding officials are not concerned about exposure at the event.

"No one associated with the bus tour at this point has come down with any symptoms," the spokesman said. "Of course, we encourage anyone with symptoms to get tested."

In March, McDaniel went to the hospital in Michigan on the advice of her doctor after she experienced a fever and flu-like symptoms; however, she tested negative for COVID-19, the RNC said at that time.

McDaniel on Twitter on Friday wished Trump and the first lady a "speedy recovery" but made no mention of her own health. "We are praying for you!" McDaniel wrote. 

Trump tapped McDaniel to lead the RNC after his 2016 election, in which Michigan was a key battleground. The president won the state by 10,704 votes — his narrowest margin of victory in any state.

More coverage:Trump puts GOP chief's winning streak on the line

McDaniel succeeded Reince Priebus to become the second woman to ever chair the committee. Last year, she was re-elected for a second term.

McDaniel is the granddaughter of former Michigan Gov. George Romney and niece of Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, a Michigan native.

mburke@detroitnews.com