2nd-highest-ranking US Marine tests positive for COVID-19

By David Choi

US Marine Corps Gen. Gary Thomas, the assistant commandant of the service, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the Marine Corps said in a statement.

Thomas, the second-highest-ranking commissioned officer in the Marine Corps, has been in quarantine since Tuesday "out of an abundance of caution following notification of close contact with a person who later tested positive," the service said.

The Marine Corps added that the four-star general is experiencing "mild symptoms, but otherwise is feeling well."

Thomas met with other military leaders in a conference room at the Pentagon on Friday, which is being viewed as the source of the virus, Politico reported.

Senior military leaders previously attended an event hosted by a charity organization for the families of fallen service members on September 27.

The Gold Star family ceremony at the White House was attended by dozens of senior officials, including President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and Coast Guard Adm. Charles Ray.

Trump and Ray, the vice commandant of the Coast Guard, tested for the coronavirus. Trump was announced to have been tested positive on Friday, October 2. Ray tested positive on Monday, October 5. Ray is quarantining for 14 days.

Other senior officials who attended the event announced they would be quarantining, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley; Vice Chairman Gen. John Hyten; Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville; and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday.

The event came one day after another White House-hosted ceremony in honor of Trump's nomination of Judge Amy Coney to the Supreme Court. Since the September 26 event, which was hosted both outdoors and inside the White House basement, a number of officials aside from Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus, including First Lady Melania Trump; White House counselor Kellyanne Conway; and Republican Sen. Mike Lee and Thom Tillis.