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Concerns Mount About Lake Forest GOP Event Attended By RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Who Later Tested Positive For COVID-19

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A big-money fundraiser by the Republican Party that was held last month in Lake Forest has gotten the attention of the Lake County Health Department.

That is because the visiting Republican National Committee Chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, later tested positive for COVID-19.

As CBS 2's Charlie De Mar reported Wednesday night, Democrats in Lake County called the gathering reckless.

"People were surprised to learn that the video is not something the Democrats shot of them to expose them," said Lauren Beth Gash, Chair of the Lake County Democratic Party.

McDaniel was the big draw at a Lake County GOP fundraiser, which was held Sept. 18 at a sprawling Lake Forest estate.

A recap video was posted to Facebook by Lake County Republicans.

"There's no question that Ronna McDaniel, who tested positive for coronavirus, could be spreading it not only in this area, but everywhere throughout the country," Gash said.

After attending the Sept. 18 event in Lake Forest, McDaniel met with President Donald Trump on Sept. 25, according to the New York Times.

McDaniel tested positive for COVID-19 five days later. President Trump announced his positive results on Oct. 2.

"They were mocking people who want to wear masks," Gash said. "You can also see they are around a pool and not social distancing."

The video begins with a trigger warning that the event was held without fear and without masks. It appears some event staffers were in masks.

"You can see the video there are people packed in a room," Gash said.

A maskless McDaniel and Chicago Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts are seen speaking inside the home to a standing-room-only crowd, as the captions point out.

The GOP chairwoman is also seen posing for photos with a who's who in Illinois GOP politics. Among those seen was state Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-North Aurora), whose office didn't return our calls Wednesday.

"As they said in their own captions, having fun, having no fear, and not wearing masks," Gash said.

Mark Shaw, who spoke at the event, is the chair of Lake County's Republican Party. He told CBS 2the event was socially distanced, masks were provided, and disputes that McDaniel could have been a carrier of COVID-19 at the event based on the timeline.

Shaw also accuses Democrats of trying to divert attention away from recent legal scandals that have surrounded Democratic politicians. Shaw declined to go on camera.


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