Hours after White House aide Hope Hicks reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, President Donald Trump told the public that both he and First Lady Melania Trump had also tested positive for the virus, as determined by a test administered on Thursday.
“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19,” Trump stated on his Twitter account on early Friday morning. “We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately.” This was followed by White House physician Sean Conley saying he’d “received confirmation” of that news, adding that the couple “plan[s] to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.” As of press time, no further details have been disclosed about either the President or First Lady’s physical condition.
Reports about Hicks’ contraction of the virus mention a timeline of her exhibiting mild symptoms on Wednesday while traveling with Trump, followed by a reportedly positive test result Wednesday evening. Later on Thursday, after Trump had already traveled to a fundraiser at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ, he described Hicks’ test results. Hours later, he disclosed his own test result.
Reports suggest Trump has been subjected to a rigorous COVID-19 testing regimen throughout 2020, and White House spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany claimed in July that the President is tested “multiple times a day” for the virus. Should Trump’s first positive result have emerged specifically on Thursday, the timeline for his contraction lands approximately five to six days earlier, or September 25-26.
The news follows public scrutiny about Trump’s statements to journalist Bob Woodward in February of this year:
“It goes through air, Bob. That’s always tougher than the touch. You know, the touch, you don’t have to touch things. Right? But the air, you just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed. [The coronavirus is] more deadly than… even your strenuous flus.”
That stance on COVID-19’s deadliness and infectiousness differed wildly from public statements made by the President and members of his close circle (including son Donald Jr.) in the months that followed, whether on television, at rallies, or on social media platforms.