Former President Donald Trump has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 three days before the first presidential debate with Joe Biden, according to a forthcoming book by former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Trump tested positive on September 26, 2020, three days before the September 29 debate in Cleveland, reported The Guardian, which has obtained a copy of Meadows’ memoir, “The Chief’s Chief,” which will be released next week by the curatorial editor All Seasons Presse.
But Trump tested negative on a different test shortly after the positive, Meadows writes in the book. On September 26, the White House also hosted an event for Amy Coney Barrett, who Trump had just appointed to the Supreme Court. The rally was then considered a likely “superspreader” COVID event.
Six days later, on October 2, Trump announced that he and first lady Melania Trump would begin quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 the night before – the same day White House adviser Hope Hicks, who had traveled with Trump, tested positive.
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In a statement Wednesday, Trump called Meadows’ claims “fake news.” In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID before the debate. “
Earlier this week, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurgency on Capitol Hill said Meadows was cooperating with the committee, possibly fending off a contempt citation for defying the panel’s subpoena for documents and testimonials.
The revelations from Meadow’s book will likely resurface concerns that Trump may have endangered current President Biden and others during the debate, just two days before Trump’s positive outcome was announced.
While the rules for attendance at the debate required all spectators to wear masks, many members of Trump’s entourage refused. “Anyone in this conference room, quite frankly, could have been exposed,” Susie Welty, contact tracing expert and technical director of surveillance at the University of California-San, told USA TODAY in October 2020. Francisco.
Meadows writes that even though he knew that every candidate had to “test negative for the virus within seventy-two hours of the (debate) start time … Nothing was going to stop (Trump) from going there. “, reported The Guardian.
On September 26, when Trump went to a rally in Middletown, Pa., The president looked “a little tired” and may have had a “slight cold,” wrote Meadows, who was “satisfied.” of the decision to organize the rally.
But as the Marine One helicopter took off, White House medic Sean Conley called Meadows and said, “Stop the president from leaving. … He just tested positive for COVID.
Meadows said it was too late to stop Trump, but when Trump was on Air Force One, Meadows told him, “Mr. President, I have bad news. You have tested positive for COVID-19.
Trump’s response, Meadows writes, “rhymes (d) with ‘Oh spit, you must be covering me by truck’.”
The first positive test was done with an old model test kit, writes Meadows, and a subsequent test was done using the BinaxNOW test. “We were hoping the first test was a false positive,” he wrote.
With the negative test result, Trump continued “as if nothing had happened,” Meadows writes. But the chief of staff told “everyone in his immediate circle to treat him like he’s positive” throughout the trip to Pennsylvania, he writes.
On the day of the presidential debate, Trump looked “slightly” better, Meadows writes. “Her face, at least for the most part, had returned to its usual light bronze hue, and the gravel in her voice was gone,” he writes in the book. “But the dark circles under his eyes had deepened. As we walked into the room around five at night, I could tell he was moving slower than usual. He was walking as if he was wearing a little bit of extra weight on his back.
Social distancing procedures were used during the debate and Trump and Biden did not shake hands. But there was a lot of boastfulness during the confrontational confrontation. Trump constantly interrupted Biden during the debate, while Biden called the president a “clown” and said, “Do you want to shut up, man?”
Three days later, Trump would announce he had COVID.
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.