Why did Trump diagnosis take so long? Hope Hicks self isolated on Air Force One on Wednesday but president still went to a fundraiser on Thursday and only announced test result in early hours of Friday morning
- The positive tests comes just hours after the White House announced that senior aide Hope Hicks had come down with the virus after traveling with the president
- She is said to have first felt poorly on Wednesday, returning from Minnesota
- Hicks was quarantined away from others on the plane and her diagnosis was confirmed Thursday, according to an administration official
- But despite her symptoms as early as Wednesday evening Trump then continued with his schedule Thursday and traveled to and from his Bedminster, New Jersey
- He flew then back to the White House Thursday evening
- It is not known why the president’s test took so long to come back
- Trump only said he and Melania were were in quarantine on Thursday evening
The positive tests comes just hours after the White House announced that senior aide Hope Hicks had come down with the virus after traveling with the president several times this week.
She is said to have first felt poorly on Wednesday evening, returning from a rally in Minnesota on the president’s plane.
Hicks was quarantined away from others on the plane and her diagnosis was confirmed Thursday, according to an administration official, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
But despite her symptoms as early as Wednesday evening Trump then continued with his schedule Thursday and traveled to and from his Bedminster, New Jersey golf resort to take part in two campaign events.
He flew then back to the White House later Thursday evening, when it was publicly confirmed Hicks had the virus.
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.
It is not known why the president’s test took so long to come back or whether he was tested Wednesday evening when Hicks first began displaying symptoms.
Senior staff have been tested for COVID-19 daily since two people who work at the White House complex tested positive in early May, prompting the White House to step up precautions. Everyone who comes into contact with the president also receives a quick-result test.
Trump only said he and Melania were were in quarantine on Thursday evening, writing: ‘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!’
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 hours before revealing he has COVID-19
The fundraiser in New Jersey on Thursday was behind closed doors but some in attendance posted to social media
A TIMELINE OF THE PRESIDENT’S TRAVEL
Saturday, September 26: President travels to a rally in Pennsylvania with Hope Hicks
Tuesday, September 29: Hicks is aboard Air Force One with the president and Melania 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: Trump still travels to New Jersey for a fundraiser
Hicks tests positive
Trump says he is awaiting test results before confirming he and wife Melania have tested positive for COVID-19
Friday, October 2: A political rally in Sanford, Florida is cancelled
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.
The positive test comes a month until the election and after the president has spent the year largely downplaying the threat of the virus.
Trump was last seen by reporters returning to the White House on Thursday evening and looked to be in good health. At 74 years old, he is at higher risk of serious complications from a virus that has now killed more than 205,000 people nationwide.
‘Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!’ Trump tweeted.
In a memorandum, the president’s physician said that the president and first lady ‘are both well at this time’ and ‘plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.’
‘Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering,’ he added.
The diagnosis marks a major blow for a president who has been trying desperately to convince the American public that the worst of the pandemic is behind them even as cases continue to rise just weeks before the November 3 election.
And it stands as the most serious known public health scare encountered by any sitting American president in recent history.
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
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
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough and breathing trouble. Most people develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.
Hicks traveled with the president multiple times this week, including aboard Marine One, the presidential helicopter, and on Air Force One to a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday, and aboard Air Force One to Tuesday night’s first presidential debate in Cleveland.
Trump had consistently played down concerns about being personally vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, even after White House staff and allies were exposed and sickened.
‘I felt no vulnerability whatsoever,’ he said told reporters back in May.
THURSDAY: President Donald Trump walks from Marine One to the White House in Washington, Thursday
Senior staff have been tested for COVID-19 daily since two people who work at the White House complex tested positive in early May, prompting the White House to step up precautions.
Everyone who comes into contact with the president also receives a quick-result test.
Yet since the early days of the pandemic, experts have questioned the health and safety protocols at the White House and asked why more wasn’t being done to protect the commander in chief.
Trump continued to shake hands with visitors long after public health officials were warning against it and he initially resisted being tested. He has been reluctant to practice his own administration’s social distancing guidelines for fear of looking weak, including refusing under almost all circumstances to wear a mask in public.