MISSOULA, Mont. — For days, NBC Montana has been working to find out how many people were possibly exposed to COVID-19 at two separate Trump campaign events in Montana last week. One of the headliners, Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, tested positive for COVID-19 Friday, just days after fundraising events in Big Sky Country.
We’ve followed this story since early Saturday morning, when several high-profile Montana politicians confirmed they were at the events with Guilfoyle and stated they were getting tested and self-quarantining. Those politicians include candidate for lieutenant governor Kristen Juras; Susan Gianforte, the wife of Rep. Greg Gianforte; State Auditor Matt Rosendale and his wife; candidate for state auditor Troy Downing and Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen.
Tuesday, a source sent NBC Montana event itineraries, which include the list of attendees.
On the lists, we found more high-profile names, including U.S. Sec. of Interior David Bernhardt, Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Aurelia Skipwith, former Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke, RNC co-chair Tommy Hicks and many donors.
The first event at a private ranch in Gallatin Gateway shows 64 guests who raised a total of $750,000 for Trump Victory. Only 19 of those guests list Montana as their primary residence, with the rest coming from places like Texas, California, Washington, D.C., and more.
The reception at the second event in Big Sky hosted 105 attendees. Many of the out-of-state guests were the same as the first event, along with 56 Montanans, many of whom listed addresses in Bozeman. The itinerary says this event was held at Lone Mountain Ranch, which we reached out to for confirmation and comment.
A representative for the ranch released a statement saying, “Thanks for reaching out for clarification. Lone Mountain Ranch, a 160-acre historic, luxury guest ranch, is a popular event venue booked throughout the year. We can confirm that the referenced private dinner was booked at Lone Mountain Ranch. This private event took place in a separate facility on property isolated from all the other guests. According to press accounts, we learned that one of the guests who was asymptotic at the event had tested positive several days later.”
The statement went on to say, “The event followed all CDC and Gallatin County Health Department guidelines, including temperature checks upon arrival, appropriate masks and gloves for all employees and post-event deep-cleaning procedures. In an abundance of caution, we are quarantining and testing potentially affected team members. As always, the health and safety of our guests and our team is our No. 1 priority.”
State health officials tell NBC Montana in this scenario, Guilfoyle’s home state would learn of her positive case and then contact states she visited and relay the information to local health departments in order to start case investigation.
So far, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services says no other state health department has been in touch about these events.
The email went on to say there are no known positive COVID-19 cases related to these events, despite it making national news that Guilfoyle tested positive days after attending them.
Stay tuned to NBC Montana as we continue investigating this story.