Liz and Dick Uihlein, billionaire owners of the Uline shipping company and two of the Republican Party's largest donors, have tested positive for the coronavirus, a family spokesman CNBC confirmed on Thursday.
Liz Uihlein, who is a prominent supporter of President Donald Trump with her husband, criticized the state restrictions put in place in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Dick and I tested positive for COVID. After all these long months, I thought we'd never get it," Uline President and CEO Liz Uihlein wrote to staff in a statement Wednesday received by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel .
Liz Uihlein's testimony referred to Trump's own coronavirus infection last month, in the weeks leading up to the presidential election.
"Well, Trump got it … if we hadn't been with people with COVID we wouldn't have been tested," she wrote. The company is based in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.
A Uihlein family spokesman told CNBC: "The email reported in the media is authentic and was distributed to Uline employees on November 11th on behalf of Liz Uihlein."
"Liz was exposed to Covid-19 by a personal friend," the spokesman said. "When the exposure was discovered, Liz was tested."
The spokesman also said that despite media reports to the contrary, "neither Liz nor Dick attended an event at the White House on November 3rd."
That day an election night party was held in the East Room of the White House.
Since then, several people who have attended this event have tested positive for Covid-19. These include White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Trump campaign advisor Corey Lewandowski, Secretary of State for Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson, Conservative activist David Bossie and White House Director of Political Affairs Brian Jack.
The Uihleins, who are over 70 years old, are ranked the fifth largest donor in the United States to outside political spending by fundraising tracking website OpenSecrets.org, after donating a whopping $ 62.8 million to conservative groups this election cycle.
When the Uihleins donated nearly $ 40 million to such groups in 2018, the New York Times published a profile entitled "The Most Powerful Conservative Couple You've Never Heard Of".
Richard Uihlein is a descendant of a founder of the Schlitz beer company.
Liz Uihlein, in an interview with The Guardian newspaper in April, criticized Wisconsin's home stay order, which was issued during the first few weeks of the U.S. pandemic.
"It's oversubscribed," Uihlein said of the virus in this interview.
"And I don't wish badwill on anyone. You know I don't, but I think it hurts certain ages in certain places and mostly in many parts of the world. It's not as common in the country as it is in the country . " Press would let you do it. "
That interview came weeks after the Times reported in late March – as numerous countries around the world told workers to stay home over Covid-19 concerns – that Uline was "managing its workforce despite complaints from employees, including this one, kept going all week huddled into his call center and worked side by side in cubicles. "
"Nothing has really changed," said a Uline employee quoted by the Times. "It's just nerve-wracking."
The Times reported in the same article that Uline workers had received an email last week from the Uihlein family announcing "big orders" from the White House.
On the same day as that email, the newspaper reported, a Uline call center manager sent employees a message that read, "If you or family members are suffering from the weather with a cold / allergy – or anything other than Covid-19. .. Please DO NOT tell your coworkers about the symptoms or your assumptions. This will cause unnecessary panic in the office. "
In August, Liz Uihlein was reportedly granted an exemption from Canada's two-week quarantine for foreign visitors when she flew there on a private jet to visit a Uline office and warehouse.
A company spokesperson told CBC News in Canada that Liz Uihlein and two company executives had formal exemptions from the rules that came into force in March.
Canada's Public Security Minister later said the decision to allow Uline executives to visit without quarantine was made by Canada Border Services Agency officials and that their "entry should not have been made".
"CBC News learned that Halton regional police officers were dispatched to Uline's Milton offices on the morning of August 26th to investigate a complaint that American visitors were holding large group meetings where no one was wearing a mask." Socket reported.
In a statement to CNBC Thursday before the family spokesman issued the statement confirming the Uihleins have Covid-19, Uline said, "The health and safety of Uline employees remains a top priority."
"Uline has made numerous changes to its normal operating policies to respond to COVID-19 with health and safety in mind," the company said.
"As we become aware of positive cases among Uline employees, we continue to promptly notify others who may be exposed to the virus so that the correct logs can be quickly established," the company said.
Trump tested positive for Covid-19 in early October, as did First Lady Melania Trump, her son Barron and more than 30 others linked to the White House, the president's re-election campaign and an official White House event in late September Announcing the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Trump has been beaten up since the beginning of this year for managing the coronavirus crisis, which has resulted in more than 10 million infections and more than 240,000 deaths in the United States. In the past week, the number of new cases of Covid-19 shattered records every day.
Trump, who originally said the virus would not spread, at times said the virus would miraculously disappear, condemned government restrictions to limit the spread of the virus, and suggested absurd ideas for treating Covid-19, including the injection of disinfectants into people.