CPAC Coronavirus ‘Patient Zero’ Falsely Identified by Trump Campaign Staffer
National Harbor, Md – A man was falsely identified as the CPAC attendee who tested positive for the Coronavirus, as first reported by hbg100.com. Trump campaign staffer Jalen Johnson named the individual in an Instagram post on Sunday, March 8, 2020.
Michelle Malkin tweeted on Thursday, condemning the initial reports that, she says, “falsely accuse @raficarone_21 of “testing positive” for virus. Maliciously false. Rafaello is a private citizen.”
D.C. correspondent Jack Posobeic took notice to the controversy as well.
Johnson originally published the false news on his Instagram page on Sunday, March 8, 2020 stating, “Breaking: @raficarone_21 officially comes down with the Coronavirus, days after attending CPAC.” Johnson included a screenshot of the conversation, where @raficarone_21 states that he is “sick.” Johnson also provided a link to the man’s public instagram account.
When reached for comment by hbg100.com on Monday, March 9, 2020, the private citizen denied the allegations of Trump campaign staffer Jalen Johnson, stating that the he does not have the virus and the allegations are false.
36 hours after the original post, Johnson then posted an Instagram update apologizing to @raficarone_21, calling it a “joke.”
Harrisburg100 (hbg100.com), and its editor Sean Guay @sguay09, were also criticized by Malkin in her tweets for reporting on Johnson’s unverified allegations about the private citizen. However, according to the man’s Instagram account, he describes himself as a “Public Figure.”
The initial report was immediately updated with corrected information, and all photos from the man’s public Instagram account were promptly removed by Harrisburg100.
The Harrisburg100 team issued the following statement in response: