Trump ‘wasn’t deemed to pose a threat' when he went to N.J. before his COVID-19 positive test, top aide says

Posted Oct 04, 2020

President Donald Trump traveled to his Bedminster golf club for a fundraiser even after being exposed to the coronavirus because it was believed he posed no threat to himself or anyone else, a top White House official said Sunday.

The president departed for a fundraiser and roundtable with supporters on Thursday even after a top aide, Hope Hicks, tested positive for COVID-19.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters at the White House Sunday that Trump had tested negative the day before his Bedminster trip.

“He’s tested regularly and the first positive test he received was after his return from Bedminster,” McEnany said, according to pool reports. “I’m not giving a detailed readout of his testing. But safe to say, his first positive test was upon return or at least after Bedminster.”

White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah earlier told reporters at the White House, according to pool reports, the decision for Trump to travel to New Jersey, “was a decision made by White House operations because he wasn’t deemed to pose a threat.”

Trump campaign senior adviser Jason Miller was asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” why the president did not immediately quarantine after Hicks tested positive. He said that attendees at the Bedminster fundraiser were tested and were kept far from the president.

“It’s important to keep in mind that anybody around the president is tested,” Miller said. “And not only tested for COVID with the rapid test, but they’re also, they have their temperature checked. At any of these events, folks are kept back from him by six feet. That’s the update from the fundraiser that they had. So people aren’t getting that close to the president.”

“But again, the president did not have a positive test yet. And so as soon as he did have a positive test and, of course, went to a different level of protocol and they took the precautionary measure to take him to Walter Reed and now he’s doing much better. And that’s the important thing.”

Following Trump’s positive test, Gov. Phil Murphy said contact tracing efforts were underway in New Jersey for those who attended the fundraiser. The Somerset County Health Department said it had launched an investigation to find out how many people at the golf club had been exposed.

“The contact-tracing process is underway,” Murphy said, urging everyone who attended the event “to take full precautions, including self-quarantining and getting tested.”

Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 Thursday evening and was hospitalized on Friday. Several others who had close contact with the president, including former Gov. Chris Christie, who has been hospitalized, and Trump’s campaign manager, New Jersey native Bill Stepien, also have been infected.

One of the doctors treating Trump at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland, Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley, seemed to indicate Saturday that the president knew he was infected before he traveled to New Jersey, saying he was “just 72 hours into the diagnosis now."

But Conley later backtracked, saying he “incorrectly used the term ‘72 hours’ instead of ‘day three.’”

“The president was first diagnosed with COVID-19 on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 1,” he said in a statement released by the White House.

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published this page in News and Politics 2020-10-05 03:03:59 -0700