- White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Friday that he “fully” expects other top aides to the president to test positive for the coronavirus after Trump and the first lady’s diagnoses.
- Meadows told reporters during an informal briefing on Friday morning that “all of our core staff” have been tested recently and said he has a “mitigation plan” in case others are infected.
- “I fully expect that as this virus continues to go on, other people in the White House will certainly have a positive test result,” Meadows said.
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White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Friday morning that he “fully” expects other top aides to the president to test positive for the coronavirus after the president and first lady’s diagnoses.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania announced early Friday morning that they had both tested positive for COVID-19. The president’s close aide, Hope Hicks, tested positive for the virus on Thursday morning after developing symptoms Wednesday evening.
Meadows told reporters during an informal briefing on Friday morning that “all of our core staff” have been tested recently.
“I fully expect that as this virus continues to go on, other people in the White House will certainly have a positive test result,” Meadows said. “We’ve got the mitigation plan in place to make sure that the government not only continues to move forward, but the work of the American people continues to go forward.”
Meadows also confirmed that the White House knew Trump’s top aide Hope Hicks, who has regular contact with the president, was infected with COVID-19 before Trump attended a fundraising event in New Jersey on Thursday, during which he came in close contact with dozens of people.
“I’m not going to get into the tick tock. I can tell you, in terms of Hope Hicks, we discovered that right as the Marine One was taking off yesterday,” Meadows told reporters. “We actually pulled some of the people that have been traveling and in close contact. The reason why it was reported out, just frankly, is that we had already started to contact tracing just prior to that event.”
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, both tested negative for the virus on Friday.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Trump has consistently played down the severity of the virus, pushed states to violate public health guidelines by quickly reopening, and dismissed those who take recommended mitigation measures.
During Tuesday’s presidential debate, Trump mocked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for regularly wearing a face mask.
“When needed, I wear a mask,” Trump said. “I don’t wear masks like him. Every time you see him he wears a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away. He shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”
Biden tested negative for the virus on Friday morning.
—Annie Karni (@anniekarni) October 2, 2020