President Donald Trump said Thursday that he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19 after a top aide he spent substantial time with this week tested positive for the coronavirus.
“We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately,” Trump said on Twitter. “We will get through this TOGETHER!”
A letter published by the White House from Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said the president and first lady are “both well at this time” and will be quarantining in the White House.
“Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering,” Conley wrote.
Hope Hicks, one of the president’s most trusted and longest-serving confidantes, began feeling mild symptoms during the plane ride home from a rally in Minnesota Wednesday evening, according to an administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose private information. She was isolated from other passengers aboard the plane and her diagnosis was confirmed Thursday, the person said.
Hicks, who serves as counsellor to the president, also accompanied him and other senior aides to the first presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday. She is the closest White House official to Trump to test positive for the virus so far.
Trump’s diagnosis marks a major blow for a president who has been trying desperately to convince the American public that the worst of the pandemic is behind them even as cases continue to rise with less than four months before Election Day. And it stands as the most serious known public health scare encountered by any sitting American president in recent history.
Just before Trump announced on Twitter that he and Melania Trump would begin a “quarantine process,” the White House distributed a schedule for Friday that showed he planned to go forward with a fundraiser at his Washington, D.C., hotel and a political rally in Sanford, Florida.
It was not yet clear if those events will be cancelled outright following Trump’s diagnosis.
Earlier, during a call-in interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, Trump appeared unsure about his next moves, saying, “Whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don’t know. I just went for a test and we’ll see what happens.”
—With files from the Associated Press
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