Donald Trump and his wife Melania have both tested positive for the coronavirus, contracted from one of the President’s closest advisers.
Mr Trump announced the news on Twitter.
Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020
They went into quarantine and got tested today after adviser, Hope Hicks, contracted the infection.
Ms Hicks, a former White House communications director who returned to the administration as a counsellor to Mr Trump earlier this year, travelled to and from this week’s presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio with him.
She was also aboard the President’s helicopter, Marine One, for a trip to Joint Base Andrews yesterday. And she was aboard Air Force One for Mr Trump’s visit to Minnesota, where he held a political rally.
Speaking to Fox News host Sean Hannity after his test, but before the result was known, Mr Trump was in a fairly positive mood.
“I just went for a test, and we’ll see what happens. I mean, who knows?” he said.
“We spend a lot of time with Hope.
“But you know Hope very well. She’s fantastic, and she’s done a great job.”
Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible! The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020
A rally planned for the swing state of Wisconsin has been cancelled. The result could also impact Mr Trump’s broader election campaign, with the second presidential debate scheduled for mid-October.
In a statement earlier today, White House spokesman Judd Deere said 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 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,” Mr Deere said.
Mr Trump said that it was difficult for him and those close to him to avoid the virus since so many others, including members of the military, try to interact with them.
“It’s very hard when you’re with soldiers, when you are with airmen, when you’re with the Marines, and the police officers, I’m with them so much. And when they come over to you, it’s hard to say, ‘stay back, stay back.’ You know, it’s a tough kind of a situation, it’s a terrible thing,” he said.
“I just went for a test, and we’ll see what happens. I mean, who knows … I was surprised to hear with Hope, but she’s a very warm person with them.”
HICKS HAD BEEN IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH TRUMP
Bloomberg News correspondent Jennifer Jacobs, who was first to report that Ms Hicks had contracted the virus, said the senior aide was experiencing symptoms, and had been in close proximity to Mr Trump without a mask in recent days.
“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.”
RELATED: Trump’s favourite aide, Hope Hicks, announces she’s leaving
RELATED: Hicks refuses to answer 155 questions about Trump
NEWS: Hope Hicks, who traveled with Trump aboard Air Force One to and from the presidential debate on Tuesday, and to his Minnesota rally yesterday, has coronavirus, sources tell me.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) October 2, 2020
Few in the WhiteHouse are closer to President Trump than Hope Hicks, a top aide who has tested positive for coronavirus. She regularly travels with Trump, like she did to Cleveland this week and again yesterday. Here she is boarding Marine One with Kushner and others yesterday. pic.twitter.com/XMd86C6pwh
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) October 2, 2020
Ms Hicks is one of Mr Trump’s longest-serving and most trusted political advisers.
She first met the President in 2014, while employed by a public relations company that was representing his daughter Ivanka’s fashion line.
She went on to become his White House communications director – replacing the controversial Anthony Scaramucci – until 2018, when she moved to California to become an executive at Fox Corporation.
“There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump,” she said in a statement at the time of her departure.
“I wish the President and his administration the very best as he continues to lead our country.”
“She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person,” Mr Trump said.
“I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood. I am sure we will work together again in the future.”
That statement proved prescient. In February, shortly after the end of his impeachment trial, Mr Trump rehired Ms Hicks to serve as an adviser.
Over the years, she has developed a reputation for knowing and understanding him better than most advisers.
Ms Hicks, the youngest communications director in history, became known as something of a Trump “whisperer” during her first stint in the White House.
As the rest of Mr Trump’s staff often crumbled around her, with chiefs of staff and press secretaries quickly flaming out, she was the one constant, always by the President’s side.
“My father makes people earn his trust. She’s earned his trust,” Ivanka Trump once said.
Ivanka poached her from the aforementioned PR company in 2014. By January of 2015, a short time after she joined the Trump Organisation, Mr Trump himself recruited her for his presidential campaign.
“Her most important role is her bond with the candidate. She totally understands him,” campaign chairman Paul Manafort later told The New York Times.
Originally published as How the Trumps got COVID