Trump tested positive for COVID day before event with Gold Star families who he later blamed for infecting him
Grace PanettaWed, December 1, 2021, 7:08 AM·4 min readIn this article:
- Trump tested positive for COVID-19 the day before an event with Gold Star families he later blamed for infecting him.
- Former chief of staff Mark Meadows reveals that Trump tested positive on September 26.
- The test, which was not publicly disclosed, came prior to the September 27 reception.
Former President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19 a day before a White House event with Gold Star military families that he later publicly blamed for infecting him and top communications aide Hope Hicks.
Trump’s former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows reveals in his forthcoming memoir, obtained by the Guardian, that Trump tested positive for COVID-19 on September 26, which was also three days before his first presidential debate against Joe Biden.
The positive test result came back when Trump was on the Marine One helicopter en route to a rally in Pennsylvania after Trump, Meadows wrote, was “a little tired” and maybe had “a slight cold.” Trump immediately took a follow-up COVID test on the flight that came back negative, according to Meadows. But his initial positive test result was not disclosed to debate organizers or to the public.-
The next day, Trump hosted an indoor event at the White House honoring Gold Star Families, the parents and loved ones of fallen US service members. Attendees sat close together and very few wore masks.
In an October 1 interview on Fox News, Trump suggested that Hicks, who had tested positive that day, had gotten COVID at the September 27 event.
“It’s very, very hard when you’re with people from the military and law enforcement and they come over to you and they want to hug you and they want to kiss you because we really have done a good job for them, you get close, & things happen,” Trump said.
Shortly before midnight on that day, Trump announced on Twitter that he too, along with former First Lady Melania Trump, had tested positive for COVID-19. The former president was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he received treatment, including experimental monoclonal antibody treatments that were not broadly available to the public at the time.
In an October 8 interview with Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo, Trump suggested that he too could have contracted COVID-19 at the reception.
“I meet a lot of people. I have to. I’m the president of the country. I can’t hang around in a basement, so I figured there would be a chance that I would catch it,” Trump told Bartiromo in a shot at Biden.
“Sometimes I’d be within groups, for instance, Gold Star families,” Trump said. “I met with Gold Star families. I didn’t want to cancel that.”
Trump explained: “I can’t back up, Maria, I can’t tell them, ‘Give me room, give me 10, 12 feet.’”
“They come within an inch of my face sometimes. They want to hug me, and they want to kiss me, and they do, and frankly, I’m not telling them to back up. I’m not doing it, but I did say it’s like, you know, it’s obviously dangerous. It’s a dangerous thing, I guess, if you go by the COVID thing,” Trump added.
In addition to the event with Gold Star families, however, Trump also hosted a Rose Garden celebration for then-Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett that turned into a super spreader event, with numerous White House staff and other high profile attendees also subsequently testing positive for COVID-19.
Trump denied having COVID-19 before the first debate.
On Wednesday, as Meadows’ account emerged, Trump appeared to call his own former chief of staff “fake news” in a statement.
“The story of me having COVID prior to, or during, the first debate is Fake News. In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID prior to the debate,” Trump said.
Trump saying that “a test revealed” he did not have COVID-19 does not, however, disprove Meadows’ recounting of him initially testing positive.
Guidance from the CDC directs people who test positive to contact their doctors and self-isolate for 10 days. One bulletin warns, “A negative test result does not mean you won’t get sick later.”