The president announced early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for Covid-19 — hours after news broke that Hope Hicks, one of his closest aides, also had tested positive.
Trump’s current White House physician, Sean Conley, said in a memo that the president and the first lady were “both well,” and that Trump would “continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering.”
Jackson, who is now a Republican congressional candidate in Texas and an ardent defender of the president, also suggested Friday that Trump’s positive Covid-19 test was a result of him “leading by example” amid the pandemic.
“The president, he’s led by example. And part of leading by example is he’s had to get out and he’s had to interact with folks,” Jackson said, insisting the White House has “been doing a good job” protecting Trump.
“He’s had to continue being president,” Jackson said. “And he hasn’t been boxed up or, you know, cooped up in the White House and campaigning from, you know, from within White House. And I think that, you know, that’s been necessary.”
In recent months, Jackson has issued dubious public health advice related to the pandemic that often breaks with the guidance put forth by experts within Trump’s own administration.
Jackson revealed in July that he does not “wear a mask all that often” and called mask-wearing a “personal choice.” Those remarks undermined Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, who had mandated that most of his state’s residents wear a mask in public.
The president’s former physician came to public prominence in 2018 when Trump tapped him to become Secretary of Veterans Affairs. But his nomination was derailed by controversy after Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) released allegations that Jackson had overprescribed pills and drank on the job.
The White House eventually withdrew its nomination, even as Trump continued his forceful defense of the doctor, and Jackson later departed the White House medical unit.