Trump says Gold Star families might have spread coronavirus to him 4 days before his N.J. fundraiser

Posted Oct 08, 2020

President Donald Trump suggested Thursday that he might contracted the coronavirus from a White House reception with Gold Star families four days before traveling to his Bedminster golf club for a well-attended fundraiser.

Trump met with the families who lost a loved one in the U.S. Armed Services at the White House on Sunday, Sept. 27, according to a White House schedule.

He flew into Bedminster on Thursday, Oct. 1, for the fundraiser, and tested positive that evening after returning to Washington.

The president said he was not going to cancel the Gold Star families reception or tell the guests to keep their distance, even as he acknowledged it could be “a dangerous thing.”

“I went through like 35 people and everyone had a different story,” Trump said on the Fox Business Network. “I can’t back up and say, ‘Give me room. I want room. Give me 12 feet. Stay 12 feet away.’ They come within an inch of of my face sometimes. They want to hug me and they want to kiss me and they do. Frankly, I’m not telling them to back up.”

He said he didn’t want to cancel the reception, held a day after Trump, several Republican U.S. senators and other allies gathered at the White House without masks as the president nominated Judge Amy Comey Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. Several attendees later tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Washington Post reported that so far none of the Gold Star families who attended the event appeared to have come down with COVID-19 after the event and two groups that nominated families for the ceremony said none had symptoms. The newspaper, however, noted that it was unable to contact all who attended.

The White House has declined to say when Trump last received a negative test before Thursday, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the information should be released.

“The public needs to know the health condition of the president before he got the virus and admitted to it,” said Pelosi, D-Calif. “When was his last negative test? It is a very important question for our country.”

White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah declined to tell reporters Thursday when Trump lasted tested negative for the coronavirus.

"Doctors would like to keep it private,” she said, according to White House pool reports. “My understanding is that it’s his private medical history.”

Gov. Phil Murphy repeated his belief that the trip should have been canceled once the president’s close aide, Hope Hicks, tested positive for COVID-19.

“Why God are we bringing Gold Star families into this?” Murphy said at his coronavirus press briefing Thursday. “I can’t speak to when the president was infected, but they knew they had been exposed to someone who was COVID positive.”

“If you know you’ve been exposed to someone who’s been COVID positive, it’s black and white what you’re supposed to do. Take yourself off the field.”

New Jersey officials are investigating whether the Bedminster event violated state rules designed to curb the spread of the virus, and are contacting the 206 people named as attending the fundraiser.

“They have done a good job of actually containing the virus in New Jersey but the president had an event at his golf course,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr., D-6th Dist., said Thursday. “Now the governor is trying to contract trace the people who were there to see if they are spreading it and raising the numbers in New Jersey. It is insane what he does.”

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said he was concerned that the list of attendees was incomplete and the U.S. Secret Service for a more detailed accounting of who was at the fundraiser.

White House and Republican National Committee officials said they took the proper precautions, made sure the guests and the president were socially distanced, and followed all state regulations.

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published this page in News and Politics 2020-10-09 03:01:33 -0700