When President Trump called into Fox News on Thursday night and confirmed his close aide Hope Hicks tested positive for COVID-19, he didn’t share with viewers that he also had a positive result from a rapid test and was waiting for the results from a more thorough screening, several people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal on Sunday.
Speaking to host Sean Hannity, Trump said he had been tested and would get the results back “either tonight or tomorrow morning.” Early Friday morning, Trump tweeted that both he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for coronavirus.
When Hicks tested positive on Thursday morning, Trump’s top advisers wanted to make sure this was kept under wraps, and even his campaign manager, Bill Stepien, didn’t find out until it was reported by Bloomberg News on Thursday night, people familiar with the matter told the Journal; Stepien announced on Friday morning that he tested positive for the virus. Per the Journal, Trump told another unnamed adviser that they should keep their positive test results to themselves, saying, “Don’t tell anyone.”
On Thursday afternoon, Trump left Washington for a fundraising event in New Jersey. One official told the Journal the campaign squad was not consulted on whether Trump should attend the event, and the White House has since said the operations team determined it was safe to go, since Trump tested negative in the morning. Holding this fundraiser “in spite of knowing that one of the team was infected and had exposed others was a recipe for spreading disease,” Lisa M. Lee, a public health expert at Virginia Tech University, told the Journal.
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