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Trump awaits Covid-19 test results after Hope Hicks falls ill

Bloomberg | Updated on October 02, 2020 Published on October 02, 2020

President Donald Trump said Thursday night that Hope Hicks, one of his closest aides, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and that he is recently been tested and is awaiting a result.

 

“She did test positive. I just heard about this,” Trump said in an interview on Fox News, about two hours after Bloomberg News first reported Hicks’ positive test.

“I just went out for a test, they just said it’ll come back later, I guess, and the first lady also because we spent a lot of time with Hope and others. So well see what happens,” he added.

Hicks travelled with Trump aboard Air Force One to and from the presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday and to a Minnesota rally on Wednesday. She felt poorly in Minnesota and quarantined aboard the presidential plane on the way home, according to people familiar with the matter.

The people asked not to be identified because Hicks’ infection had not been publicly announced until Trump’s interview. Messages left for Hicks were not immediately returned.

“I’ll get my test back either tonight or tomorrow morning,” Trump said. He said he was surprised about Hicks’ infection, remarking that she often wears a mask. She is a very warm person, he said.

 

Hicks is the latest person in Trump’s orbit to contract the virus, which has infected more than 7.2 million Americans and killed more than 200,000. Other senior staff have contracted Covid-19 and recovered including National Security Adviser Robert OBrien, but few spend as much time with the president as Hicks, whose service dates to his 2016 campaign.

Some people close to Hicks were told that she is experiencing symptoms of the disease.

 

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 spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement. 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.

The development is likely to inflame criticism of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the president’s disregard for public health measures to combat it.

Trump seldom wears mask

Trump seldom wears a mask and has belittled his re-election challenger, Joe Biden, for routinely covering his face. The president has resumed holding large campaign rallies at which thousands of his supporters gather, shoulder to shoulder, few in masks.

Most of the events are held outdoors at airports but two recent events in Arizona and Nevada were indoors, a setting that public health experts warn raises the risk of virus transmission.

Hicks travelled with Trump to the debate with Biden on Tuesday and to a Minnesota rally on Wednesday. Trump’s entourage entered the debate hall without face coverings, or removed them as they sat down, and refused an offer of masks from a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic, which was co-hosting the event.

Hicks was seen on Tuesday riding maskless in a staff van with White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, campaign adviser Jason Miller and others.

When they returned to Washington on Tuesday, Stephen Miller and Hicks were seen sharing an umbrella as they exited Air Force One in the rain. Millers wife, Katie Miller -- Vice President Mike Pences press secretary -- recovered from Covid-19 earlier this year.

Hicks felt poorly in Minnesota on Wednesday and was quarantined aboard Air Force One during the return flight, according to people familiar with the matter. She tested positive for the virus on Thursday.

Trump is tested regularly, though it is not clear precisely how often.

Trump’s staff wear masks when travelling with him aboard the presidential helicopter, Marine One, and Hicks observed that protocol this week.

But his aides worry that Trump's lack of sleep during the final stretch of the presidential campaign could leave him especially vulnerable to infection. The president did not return to the White House until after midnight following his Tuesday and Wednesday trips. Trumps age, 74, also puts him at greater risk for serious illness from the virus.

A person familiar with the debate commissions testing protocols said there should have been no co-mingling between the Trump and Biden campaign staff in Cleveland, and that there were separate entrances and rooms for both groups. The person added that everyone in the debate hall had to be tested 72 hours before the event, and everyone travelling with Biden and top people in his campaign had to be certified by medical personnel that they had tested negative for the virus.

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Published on October 02, 2020
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