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While the president has met with governors to signal that America is ready to “reopen” amid the coronavirus pandemic, moving faster than public health officials have warned, he has instead found that the virus has reached the White House, while the number of infections in states that have eased quarantine measures continues to climb, against the president’s own guidance.

On Friday, Donald Trump revealed that a second White House staffer, the press secretary for vice president Mike Pence, has tested positive for the coronavirus. The news briefly halted the departure Mr Pence’s flight to Iowa as those that had been in contact with the aide deplaned, according to reports.

Katie Miller, who also is married to the president’s adviser close Stephen Miller, was diagnosed following reports that Mr Trump’s valet has also tested positive for Covid-19. Their diagnosis means that much of the West Wing has been exposed to the virus.

Meanwhile, the president joined eight Second World War veterans for a brief wreath-laying to mark 75 years since VE Day. White House officials described the veterans as “choosing nation over self” by taking part in the ceremony.

The president also called into Fox News on Friday morning, a day after the Department of Justice dropped its case against Michael Flynn despite his guilty plea for lying to the FBI during the course of a two-year congressional investigation into Russian interference in the president’s campaign in 2016.

During a string of rambling answers, he made a wild and unsubstantiated claim that Barack Obama and Joe Biden had tried to undo his 2016 election win, and as catastrophic job losses were announced, said he would “bring back” the US economy.

He also suggested that Sean Hannity, the controversial Fox News host, should be given the equivalent of a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage, a day after telling reporters who earned the accolades for their coverage of the Russia scandal to return theirs.

His appearance on the network followed unprecedented unemployment reports that morning, revealing more than 20 million Americans had lost their jobs last month and an unemployment rate nearing 15 per cent.

The latest figures show that record unemployment has effectively wiped out economic and job gains made over the last decade, which the president has touted during his term.

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