Statement by Jonathan Hoffman, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs:

“The Secretary, Mrs. Esper, Chairman Milley, and Mrs. Milley send their thoughts and prayers to the President and First Lady for a swift recovery. 

Secretary Esper and Chairman Milley last met with the President on Sunday at the White House Gold Star Families event.  In preparation for and as part of his international travel, Secretary Esper tested negative for COVID on Monday and Wednesday of this week.  Today he will be tested again as planned for continuation of his travel.  He will not be returning to the US early.  The Chairman was tested this morning and was negative.

There’s been no change to DoD alert levels.  The US military stands ready to defend our country and interests.  There’s no change to the readiness or capability of our armed forces.  Our national command and control structure is in no way affected by this announcement.

With regard to reports about E-6B aircraft on alert status, US STRATCOM has confirmed these E-6B aircraft were part of pre-planned missions. Any timing to the president’s announcement was purely coincidental.

The Secretary has expressed his appreciation for the White House’s military medical team and is confident that they will ensure that the President and First Lady – like all members of our military family – will continue to receive the best medical care in the world.”

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