President Donald Trump learned on Thursday morning that his aide Hope Hicks tested positive for coronavirus, yet continued on with a full schedule of events, including a fundraiser at his New Jersey resort that raised $5 million, according to people familiar with the situation.
Trump’s movements are being closely scrutinized since he later tested positive for coronavirus, announcing the news shortly before 1 a.m. Friday, Washington time. The White House has not said when Trump first tested positive for the virus, but Trump said late Thursday he was awaiting results.
In between learning the news of Hicks’ infection Thursday morning and announcing his own early Friday, Trump stuck to his prepared schedule. That decision would appear to contradict the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’sguidance on COVID, which reads:
“Even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy, you should stay home (quarantine) since symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.”
It was not known whether Trump was tested Thursday morning after receiving the news of Hicks’s positive test.
On Thursday, Trump had no publicly scheduled events that morning after a late-night return from a rally in Minnesota, a trip that Hicks also attended. She was separated from the rest of theWhite House staff on Air Force One on the trip home Wednesday night after falling ill.
Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany held a briefing shortly before noon on Thursday, taking the podium without a mask. At that time, she did not know Hicks had tested positive, she said.
Trump then left the White House at 1 p.m. Thursday, not stopping to speak to reporters before boarding his helicopter. He flew on Air Force One to New Jersey, and then by helicopter into his Bedminster golf club for the fundraiser.
“Attendees tested negative for COVID-19 on the day of the event, completed a wellness questionnaire, and passed a temperature screening,” Mandi Merritt, a spokeswoman for theRepublican National Committee, said in a statement. “Every guest was at least 6 feet from the president at all times.”
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Friday said officials were conducting contact tracing and urged attendees at the event to get tested and self quarantine.
Trump returned to the White House and called into the show of Sean Hannity, a Fox News commentator, at 9 p.m., by which pointBloomberg News had revealed Hicks had tested positive.
In the interview, Trump said he had just learned of Hicks’s test, though didn’t specify when. He said he and his wife were awaiting test results, which the White House released shortly after midnight.
No one knew Trump was positive on Thursday, but some suspected it, people familiar with the matter said. White House staff are worried that much of this could spread, or already has spread, throughout the West Wing. Senior aides on Thursday discussed various eventualities for what would happen if Trump tested positive. Others awoke to the news on Friday.
CDC guidelines would advise him to quarantine after getting clear of the virus, a schedule that could keep Trump off the campaign trail for the foreseeable future.
Trump has canceled all events on Friday, including a planned rally in Florida, and his future campaign schedule remains in doubt.
— With assistance by Mario Parker
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