Pelosi monitoring health day after she and Biden attended event with COVID-positive Irish leader

President Biden, Speaker Pelosi and Taoiseach Micheál Martin deliver remarks at the Annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she will continue regular coronavirus testing after sitting maskless Wednesday night next to the Irish prime minister, who tested positive for COVID-19.

Pelosi got a negative PCR test Thursday, administered by the Capitol Attending Physician and will follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance, according to her office.

Pelosi was to give Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin an award at the Ireland Funds 30th National Gala Wednesday night but the leader, also known as Ireland’s Taoiseach, left the dinner early after getting his positive result back. Pelosi was seated next to him where he took off his mask to eat, she noted.

“In consultation with the office of the attending physician, I will continue regular testing following CDC guidelines,” Pelosi said Thursday at her weekly news conference. 

Ireland’s Prime Minister Micheal Martin speaking with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Ireland Funds 30th National Gala at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C., Wednesday, March 16, 2022.

On Wednesday afternoon the Irish Prime Minister tested negative on an antigen test, but he was re-tested after a member of his delegation tested positive, the Irish Embassy said, according to White House pool reports. The second, more reliable PCR test gave a positive result.

Asked if she has concerns for her health, Pelosi said “I don’t” noting that she already was tested regularly due to her regular contact with President Biden, who was also at the event on Wednesday but not seated next to the Irish leader.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, March 19, 2021.
( Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP)

The positive diagnosis meant that Martin’s planned St. Patrick’s Day events at the White House and Capitol were scrapped. 

The annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon at the Capitol will continue Thursday for St. Patrick’s Day with Pelosi and Biden, but without Martin, who is staying at the Blair House, across the street from the White House.

Biden instead had a virtual bi-lateral meeting with the Irish leader, where Biden noted he spent “seven minutes” with Martin yesterday in person.

Pelosi made the case for more coronavirus funding  – which had to be removed from the larger omnibus spending package last week over objections from Democrats on spending offsets – noting that if Ireland’s prime minister and former President Obama are getting coronavirus, then regular Americans still need help too. 

“I think we need all the money we can get to have the resources that we need to fight COVID,” Pelosi said. “The last thing we need is another variant.”

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