US President Donald Trump announced early Friday morning that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for coronavirus.
“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” Trump tweeted shortly before 1 AM Friday.
In a memo issued to reporters around 1 a.m. ET, the President’s physician, Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley, wrote he received confirmation of the positive tests on Thursday evening.
“The President and First Lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence,” Conley wrote. “The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our country’s greatest medical professionals and institutions.”
“Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any further developments.”
Dr. Conley did not elaborate on what assistance was being provided to the White House.
On late Thursday night, the President had said that he planned to quarantine after one of his closest aides tested positive for the Covid-19.
“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!” President Trump tweeted Thursday night.
Hicks has traveled with the President multiple times recently, including to the debate in Cleveland, and was seen boarding Marine One, along with several other of the President’s closest aides — Jared Kushner, Dan Scavino and Nicholas Luna — none of whom wore masks.
“She did test positive, I just heard about this. She tested positive. She’s a hard worker.
Lot of masks, she wears masks a lot but she tested positive.Then I just went out with a test. I’ll see — you know, because we spent a lot of time — and the first lady just went out with a test also. So whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don’t know,” the President said during a call-in appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity.
“I just went for a test and we’ll see what happens, I mean, who knows. … I spent a lot of time with Hope and so does the first lady, and she’s tremendous.”
It is still unclear what the President’s “quarantine process” will look like, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines state that a 14-day quarantine should take place after the last known exposure to someone who has tested positive for Covid-19 because the incubation period for the novel coronavirus can be up to two weeks.
News of Hicks’ positive test comes during continued efforts by the Trump administration to blatantly disregard science and best public health practices during the pandemic, with West Wing staff actively not wearing masks and the President defying recommendations from his own coronavirus task force, proceeding with a busy schedule of packed campaign rallies.
Trump and his key aides have shown little interest in changing practices of his staff to meet the needs of the moment.
Last May, two White House staffers, including a member of the Navy who serves as one of President Trump’s personal valets, tested positive, and in July a cafeteria employee on the White House grounds tested positive for coronavirus as well. And just last month, the President confirmed a fourth positive case on White House grounds.
According to a person who had spoken with him, the President has previously expressed concern that aides contracting the virus would undercut his message that the outbreak is dwindling and states should accelerate reopening.
The White House has since gone to great efforts to protect Trump and Vice President Mike Pence from the outbreak, even as they travel to states where cases are skyrocketing.
Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary previously described Trump as the “most tested man in America,” who doesn’t risk spreading the virus to others. But Trump contradicted that claim hours later, saying he doesn’t know of a time he’s taken more than one coronavirus test in a day.
“I don’t know about more than one,” Trump responded to a reporter who asked why he was tested more than once a day. “I do probably on average a test every two days, three days, and I don’t know of any time I’ve taken two in one day, but I could see that happening.”