The senior pastor of a Georgia megachurch with seven campuses in three states has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 about a week after attending a White House Christmas party.
Jentezen Franklin has only mild symptoms, a spokesperson for Free Chapel in Gainesville, Georgia, told 11 Alive.
Franklin posted a picture of himself and his daughter at the White House event on social media last week.
“Pastor Jentezen Franklin’s visit to White House had no correlation with his diagnosis,” a church spokesperson told the news outlet. “He was exposed to an associate of the congregation in the metro on Thursday who turned out to be infected.”
News of the pastor’s infection was announced after he didn’t show up for church on Sunday. His colleague, Pastor Javon Ruff, broke the news to their congregation.
“We want to make you aware that Pastor Franklin has come in contact with COVID, but he is doing perfectly fine,” said Ruff, according to 11 Alive.
A White House Rose Garden event Sept. 26, during which attendants sat close together and didn’t wear a mask, was followed by a number of administration staffers becoming ill with COVID-19. President Donald Trump was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Oct. 2 for treatment for the virus.
The Georgia pastor was also at that event, the local news outlet noted.
Trump has hosted a number of Christmas parties this month, and it’s not clear if he attended the one Franklin was at, the local news outlet reported, adding that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp attended a party at the White House on Friday.