Dallas-area Pastor Jack Graham opts not to follow CDC guidelines in wake of Rose Garden COVID exposure
Updated Oct. 5 at 8:15 p.m. to include additional information.
WASHINGTON — Dallas-area megachurch Pastor Jack Graham has declined to follow medical guidelines despite being in close contact with people who have since tested positive for the coronavirus after a Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony, telling his congregation, “I am ridiculously healthy.”
The 70-year-old leader of Prestonwood Baptist Church attended the ceremony at the White House where President Donald Trump formally announced his nomination of conservative Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court. Since the event, at least 10 attendees have tested positive for the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was photographed sitting directly behind Graham. Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., was sitting next to Graham and also later tested positive.
Graham, Laurie and Christie were among the vast majority of people not wearing a mask at the event.
Robert Morris, the senior pastor at Gateway Church in Southlake, was photographed at the Rose Garden ceremony without a mask. He was seated directly behind Notre Dame President John Jenkins, who was also unmasked and later tested positive for the virus.
A spokesperson for the church declined to comment on if Morris had been tested for the virus and was quarantining following his exposure.
A maskless Graham led his church’s service on Sunday and was photographed having a conversation with several worshippers afterward by a member of his congregation. Graham was not wearing a mask in the photo that was shared with The Dallas Morning News.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends anyone exposed to someone who tests positive for the virus quarantine for at least 14 days following the exposure and maintain six feet of social distance from others.
“I am ridiculously healthy, let’s just