Joe Biden promptly tested for COVID-19 after news of Donald and Melania Trump’s positive diagnosis broke — and we’re relieved to report that Biden’s tests came back negative.
As the news that the president had tested positive himself upended the presidential campaign on Friday, new details emerged about how he spent the week. Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, told reporters that the president’s top aides learned of Ms. Hicks’s test result as Mr. Trump was leaving the White House by helicopter en route to Joint Base Andrews for the flight to New Jersey.
“We discovered as Marine One was taking off yesterday,” Mr. Meadows said on Friday. “We pulled some of the people traveling in close contact.” But Mr. Trump went ahead with the trip and appeared before hundreds of supporters at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., both outside and indoors.
The president has had what one person described as cold-like symptoms. At the fundraiser on Thursday, where one attendee said the president came in contact with about 100 people, he seemed lethargic.
A person briefed on the matter said that Mr. Trump had fallen asleep at one point on Air Force One on the way back from a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday night.
Although the president faced off with Joseph R. Biden Jr. at a debate this week in Cleveland, the Biden campaign did not receive any notification from Mr. Trump’s team that the president had tested positive before he announced it to the world, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The White House did not explain why it proceeded with the trip to New Jersey knowing of Ms. Hicks’s condition, given her proximity to the president. Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, who had traveled with the president and Ms. Hicks to a Minnesota rally on Wednesday, has told colleagues that she did not know Ms. Hicks was sick before she briefed reporters on Thursday morning. However, she was among those later pulled from the New Jersey trip.
Ms. McEnany learned that Ms. Hicks had tested positive sometime in the middle of Thursday afternoon, according to people close to the situation, but the White House did not disclose Ms. Hicks’s test result or the fact that the president was being tested in response until Thursday night, after it was reported by Bloomberg News.
Mr. Trump confirmed the news of Ms. Hicks’s result while on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News and said he was awaiting his own test. He tweeted his positive result shortly before 1 a.m. Eastern time on Friday. Only after that did the White House release a statement in the name of the president’s physician, Dr. Sean P. Conley.
President Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, told aides Friday in an email that any campaign staff members who came into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus should “immediately begin self-quarantine.”
“It is on all of us to continue to exercise the smart judgment and practices the campaign has long encouraged: wear a mask, wash your hands, socially distance” and work from home if feeling ill, the email said.
Mr. Stepien also wrote that the campaign office was staying open.
Buckle up, love muffins. The road to the election just got a little crazier…if you can believe it.