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Trump and First Lady Test Positive for Coronavirus

Donald Trump Melania Trump Coronavirus
P Photo/Julio Cortez

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, forcing him to cancel events and upending the final weeks of his re-election campaign.

“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19,” the president tweeted. “We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

The president’s physician, Sean P. Conley, said in a memo that Trump and the first lady “are both well at this time.”

Melania Trump also tweeted that “We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together.”

Conley said in the memo that the president and first lady will remain at the White House, and the president will not interrupt his duties. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages anyone who tests positive to isolate for 10 days.

“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,” Conley wrote. “Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any future developments.”

Trump had confirmed just hours earlier that senior aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for the virus, following a Bloomberg report.

Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday evening that he was awaiting COVID-19 test results. “Whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don’t know,” he said.

Hicks had traveled with the president throughout the week, including twice aboard Air Force One. Trump attended a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday and the first presidential debate, opposite Joe Biden, in Cleveland. Hicks accompanied him to both events. He’s set to face off against Biden again on Oct. 15, which falls after the 10-day isolation window recommended by the CDC, but which could nevertheless be postponed.

Trump was asked about his skepticism about masks during the debate on Tuesday at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

“I think masks are okay … I mean, I have a mask right here. I put a mask on when I think I need it,” Trump said. Referring to Biden, he added, “I don’t wear a mask like him. Every time you see him, he’s got a mask.”

Biden criticized Trump at the debate for holding large rallies, saying he was putting his supporters in danger.

“He’s been totally irresponsible the way in which he has handled the social distancing and people wearing masks, basically encouraged them not to,” Biden said. “He’s a fool on this.”

Trump held a rally in Fayetteville, N.C., on Saturday, where the majority of the thousands of attendees were not wearing masks or social distancing. He has also downplayed for months the severity of the pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 in the United States and championed reopening the economy.

Hours before testing positive, Trump said during the 75th Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner that “the end of the pandemic is in sight.”

The president had planned to have a fundraiser with supporters at the Trump International Hotel in Washington on Friday afternoon, and then fly to Sanford, Fla., for a rally. Those events have been taken off his schedule. A revised schedule included only one agenda item — a “phone call on COVID-19 support to vulnerable seniors.”

Trump had also planned to hold two “Make America Great Again” events in Wisconsin on Saturday, and two events in Arizona on Monday and Tuesday. He was also supposed to fly to Los Angeles on Tuesday for a fundraiser.

Although it’s unclear if he’s symptomatic, at 74, Trump is at higher risk of developing serious complications from the virus.