Washington, December 2
Donald Trump tested positive for Covid three days before his first presidential debate in September 2020 with Joe Biden, according to a new book by Trump’s former chief of staff.
In ‘The Chief’s Chief’, obtained by The Guardian ahead of its December 7 release, Mark Meadows writes that the then president tested negative shortly after testing positive and resumed his usual activities, including attending the debate against his Democratic challenger. Trump called the story “Fake News” on Wednesday.
The revelation, if confirmed, would further show that Trump’s White House did not take the virus seriously even though it spread among White House and campaign staff and ultimately sent Trump in the hospital, where he needed extra oxygen and experimental treatments.
The former president said that Meadows’ story “of me having COVID before or during the first debate is Fake News. In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID before the debate.”
Meadows retweeted Trump’s statement. In a Wednesday night interview with Newsmax, Meadows said the story was being told by the press.
“Well the president is right, this is fake news,” Meadows said. “If you actually read the book, the context of it, this story describes a false positive. Literally he took a test, had two more tests after that that showed he didn’t have COVID for debate. “
The book’s publisher, All Seasons Press, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The White House has started a testing program for key Trump aides and those who would come into contact with him after previous positive cases. But aides repeatedly refused to disclose when Trump was tested on debate week, suggesting he might have had Covid on stage with Biden.
Fox News moderator Chris Wallace previously said he believed Trump may have had Covid at the time of the debate due to the incubation period of the virus. It usually takes several days from when a person is exposed to the virus until the viral load is high enough to be detected.
Trump was 74 and Biden was 78 at the time, putting them at higher risk of serious complications from the virus. Vaccines against Covid were not then available.
Trump announced in a tweet early on October 2, 2020 that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus. He was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center later that day.
But Meadows writes that Trump tested positive on September 26, three days before the debate and the same day he hosted a Rose Garden ceremony for his last Supreme Court candidate, Amy Coney Barrett, according to the newspaper. Trump went to a rally in Pennsylvania that evening.
Meadows, Trump’s fourth and final chief of staff, writes that he received a call from the White House doctor as Trump’s helicopter took off from the White House for the rally. Meadows says he was told Trump tested positive and ordered to prevent the president from leaving.
When Meadows announced the result to Trump, the president’s response, according to The Guardian, “rhymes (d) with Oh spit, you gotta drive me in a truck.”
But Meadows said the test was done with an older model kit and told Trump it would be repeated with a newer version. After “a brief but tense wait,” Meadows reported that the second test came back negative.
Trump took this result as “full permission to continue as normal,” Meadows wrote, according to The Guardian. Over the next few days, he hosted current events, met Gold Star families at the White House, attended several fundraisers, and appeared at the debate.
On debate day, Sept. 29, Meadows wrote that Trump looked a little better – “the emphasis is lightly on the word.” her voice was gone. But the circles under his eyes had widened. As we walked into the room around five at night, I could tell he was moving slower than usual. He was walking like he was carrying a little extra weight on his back, ”Meadows said.
Meadows noted that both candidates were to test negative for the virus within 72 hours of the debate, but wrote that “Nothing was going to stop (Trump) from going out there.”
Dr Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s senior medical adviser, who also served in the Trump administration, said he was not aware of the test results but anyone who tested positive should self-isolate from the tests. other people.
“I’m not going to talk specifically about who is putting who at risk, but I would say like I said, not just for any individual, but for everyone, that if you test positive you should put yourself in quarantine, “he told a press conference. briefing Wednesday.
Biden brushed off the report. “I am not thinking of the former president,” he told reporters. AP