BREAKING NEWS: Donald Trump and Melania test POSITIVE for COVID as they go into quarantine following news that Hope Hicks contracted the virus after traveling with the president on Air Force One
- Trump had said he and first lady Melania Trump are awaiting their own test results after Hicks tested positive
- ‘Whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don’t know, I just went for a test’ Trump had told Fox News
- The president, 74, later tweeted: ‘In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!’
- Hicks, who serves as counselor to Trump, traveled with him to a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday
- She tested positive Thursday, according to an administration official after feeling poorly on the way home
- Hicks also had also been aboard Air Force One to Tuesday night’s first presidential debate in Cleveland
- And she traveled with the president to a rally in Pennsylvania last Saturday where she was seen maskless
- Trump traveled to New Jersey Thursday for a fundraiser; his social media director Dan Scavino and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, originally set to join him on the trip, were replaced at the last minute by others
The president tweeted to confirm the news shortly before 1am EST Friday
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for coronavirus Thursday evening.
The president tweeted to confirm the news shortly before 1am EST Friday: ‘Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!’
It comes following news that Hope Hicks contracted the virus after traveling with the president on Air Force One.
Trump is 74 years old, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from the virus.
‘Whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don’t know,’ Trump, 74, had said during a call-in interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity on Thursday night. ‘I just went for a test and we’ll see what happens.’ He later tweeted: ‘Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible! The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!’
The White House had earlier distributed a schedule for Friday that showed he planned to go forward with a fundraiser at his Washington, D.C., hotel and a political rally in Sanford, Florida.
Hicks began feeling mild symptoms during the plane ride home from a rally in Minnesota Wednesday evening, according to an administration official, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity to disclose private information.
She was quarantined away from others on the plane and her diagnosis was confirmed Thursday, that person said.
Hicks had traveled with the president multiple times this week, including aboard Marine One, the presidential helicopter, and on Air Force One to the rally in Minnesota Wednesday.
Since then, the president traveled to and from his Bedminster, New Jersey golf resort to take part in two campaign events and then flew back to the White House this evening. His social media director Dan Scavino and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who were originally set to join him on the Thursday trip, were replaced at the last minute by other aides.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump began ‘their quarantine process’ Thursday evening after Hope Hicks tested positive for COVID-19
Hicks had also been aboard Air Force One to Tuesday night’s first presidential debate in Cleveland. She was spotted getting off Air Force One in the city without her mask. Hicks also traveled with the president to a rally in Pennsylvania last Saturday where she was seen maskless and clapping to the Village People’s YMCA.
She is the closest aide to Trump to test positive so far.
She previously served as White House communications director and re-joined the administration this year ahead of the election.
WEDNESDAY: Counselor to the President Hope Hicks, left, with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, walk from Marine One to accompany President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One as he departs to a rally in Minnesota. It was on the way home from this trip that Hicks is said to have first shown symptoms of the virus
TUESDAY: She was spotted getting off Air Force One in Cleveland on Tuesday without her mask ahead of the first presidential debate in the city
SATURDAY: From left, White House director of social media Dan Scavino, Counselor to the President Hope Hicks, special assistant to the President and White House trip director William Russell, and director of the White House personnel John McEntee listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Harrisburg International Airport, Saturday
TUESDAY: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump wave before boarding Air Force One to travel to the first presidential debate in Cleveland. The president says he and first lady Melania Trump are awaiting their own test results
A TIMELINE OF HICKS’ TRAVEL WITH THE PRESIDENT
Saturday, September 26: Hicks traveled with the president to a rally in Pennsylvania
Tuesday, September 29: Hicks was aboard Air Force One with the president to travel to night’s first presidential debate in Cleveland. She is seen leaving the jet without a mask
Wednesday, September 30: Hicks travels on Marine One and on Air Force One to a rally in Minnesota Wednesday.
She is understood to have felt poorly on the way back, quarantining on the presidential plane to get home.
Thursday, October 1: Hicks tests positive; Trump traveled to New Jersey for a fundraiser and says he is awaiting test results
Friday, October 2: It can take days for an infection to be detectable by a test, and it was unclear what Trump’s quarantine entailed. Minutes before his tweet, the White House distributed a schedule for Friday that showed he planned to go forward with a fundraiser at his Washington, D.C., hotel and a political rally in Sanford, Florida.
Speaking to Fox News the president described the 31-year-old Hicks as a ‘very warm person’ and suggested she got close to supporters and contracted the virus.
‘She’s fantastic and she’s done a great job,’ Trump said.
‘But it’s very, very hard when you are with people from the military and from law enforcement and they come over to you and they, they want to hug you and they want to kiss you, because we really have done a good job for them.’
‘And you get close and things happen,’ the president added.
Trump also said he was ‘surprised’ to hear that Hicks tested positive.
‘She wears a mask a lot, but she tested positive,’ the president said.
Typically, according to the CDC, a person develops symptoms five days after being infected, but symptoms can appear as early as two days after infection or as late as 14 days after infection, and the time range can vary.
Hicks becomes the latest in Trump’s circle to contract the virus after National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and White House coronavirus task force spokeswoman Katie Miller.
White House spokesman Judd Deere had earlier said: ‘The president takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously.
‘White House Operations collaborates with the physician to the President and the White House Military Office to ensure all plans and procedures incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting Covid-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible, both on complex and when the president is traveling.’
Deere did not mention Hicks by name.
Hicks was also seen Tuesday in a car without her mask with White House senior adviser Stephen Miller and campaign adviser Jason Miller. She is said to have worn a mask when on Marine One with Trump.
She joined 20 to 30 aides and family members, including the president’s son Don. Jr, on board Air Force One Tuesday.
Her positive test was first reported by Bloomberg News.
THURSDAY: Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as he walks from Marine One after arriving on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, October 1, 2020, following campaign events in New Jersey
THURSDAY: President Donald Trump walks from Marine One to the White House in Washington, Thursday
TUESDAY: Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle walk across the tarmac to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base before flying to Cleveland for the first presidential debate Tuesday alongside Hicks
WEDNESDAY Hope Hicks, far right. is pictured walking to Marine One alongside Jared Kushner, center, to depart from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington DC on Wednesday
WEDNESDAY: The crowd cheers as Air Force One arrives with President Donald Trump at Duluth International Airport on Wednesday. Hicks had joined the president on the trip and felt poorly on the way home, according to reports
WEDNESDAY: President Trump throws hats to supporters after speaking at a campaign rally at Duluth International Airport
HOW THE 15 MINUTE TEST USED BY THE WHITE HOUSE MAY MISS INFECTIONS
The White House is understood to normally use rapid 15 minute testing for the virus and one reporter on board the flight Wednesday said he already has a negative test result back.
But a study in May said the quick response testing then used by the White House might miss infections, The New York Times reported at the time.
A New York University study found: ‘Regardless of method of collection and sample type, Abbot ID NOW COVID-19 missed a third of the samples detected positive by Cepheid Xpert Xpress when using NP swabs in VTM and over 48% when using dry nasal swabs.’
Laboratory tests can take longer for a result.
It can also take days for an infection to be detectable by a test, and it was unclear what Trump’s quarantine entailed.
Minutes before his tweet, the White House distributed a schedule for Friday that showed he planned to go forward with a fundraiser at his Washington, D.C., hotel and a political rally in Sanford, Florida.
Multiple White House staffers have tested positive for the virus, including Katie Miller, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, and one of the president’s personal valets.
Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is dating Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., tested positive in South Dakota before an Independence Day fireworks show at Mount Rushmore.
After earlier positive cases close to the president, the White House instituted a daily testing regimen for the president’s senior aides.
Others who will be in close proximity to the president and vice president, including reporters, are also tested every day.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 quarantine for 14 days, White House staffers are considered essential workers.
CDC’s guidelines for exposed essential workers allows them to return to work if they take precautions, including taking their temperature before going into work, wearing a mask at all times and practicing social distancing.
Trump, the White House and his campaign have flouted other CDC guidelines and recommendations from public health officials, and largely refused to wear masks or practice social distancing.
The virus has killed more than 200,000 Americans and infected more than 7 million nationwide.
The positive test is yet another reminder that the coronavirus continues to spread, even as Trump has tried desperately to suggest it no longer poses a danger.
Instead, Trump has continued to hold campaign rallies that draw thousands of supporters.
Still, Trump has consistently played down concerns about being personally vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. ‘I felt no vulnerability whatsoever,’ he told reporters back in May.
Hicks is one of the president’s most trusted and longest-serving aides, having worked as spokesperson for his 2016 campaign. She originally served as White House as communications director, and re-joined the administration this year as an adviser ahead of the election.
DailyMail.com’s Senior U.S. Political Reporter Nikki Schwab took this picture of Hicks Tuesday