Donald Trump and Melania test positive for coronavirus
The news came after it was announced that senior Trump aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for Covid-19. Mr Trump is now expected to self-isolate just weeks ahead of the November 3 election
Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020
The announcement came after Hope Hicks, who serves as counsellor to the president and accompanied him to the presidential debate on Tuesday and to a Minnesota rally on Wednesday, tested positive on Thursday.
The president’s doctor, Navy Commander Dr Sean Conley, said in a statement early on Friday: “The president and first lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.
“The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our country’s greatest medical professionals and institutions,” Conley wrote. “Rest assured, I expect the president to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering.”
He said he received confirmation of the positive tests on Thursday evening. With little over a month before the elections, this is the most serious threat to the life of an American president since Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981.
Earlier, Trump confirmed in an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity that Hicks had contracted the virus. “She tested positive,” Trump said, adding that he and Melania had taken coronavirus diagnostic tests. “I just went for a test and we’ll see what happens,” he told Hannity. “I spend a lot of time with Hope,” he added.
Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, told the Guardian: “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 travelling,” Deere added.Advertisement
The president cancelled plans to meet supporters in Washington DC and travel to Florida on Friday. Instead he is scheduled to host a phone call “on Covid-19 support to vulnerable seniors”.
Melania Trump tweeted that she and Trump “are feeling good and I have postponed all upcoming engagements”.
Although Hicks was tested on Thursday after showing symptoms, Trump traveled to New Jersey and met supporters at his Bedminster Golf Club, and delivered remarks at a fundraising committee reception. The night before, he spoke at a rally in Duluth, Minnesota, before a packed crowd of thousands, most of whom were not wearing masks.
It is unusual for Covid-19 patients to receive a positive PCR test result one day after exposure, public health experts say, and Trump may have been carrying the virus for longer – exposing those he interacted with this week.
If Trump becomes severely ill, he may temporarily transfer power to the vice-president under the 25th Amendment of the US constitution – and reclaim authority when he deems himself fit to serve. If both Trump and Pence are incapacitated, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, would be next in the line of succession.
News of Hicks’ infection has intensified criticism of the administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and the president’s disregard for public officials’ recommendations.
The president is regularly tested for the virus, as are those who work in the White House and those who meet with him, including the members of the White House press corps.