Former President Donald Trump has denied claims by his last White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, that Trump tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before his first debate with Joe Biden last year.
“The story of me having COVID before or during the first debate is fake news,” Trump said Wednesday in a statement released by his Save America PAC. “In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID before the debate. ”
Meadows requests it in his upcoming book “The Chief’s Chief”, which chronicles his time in the Trump administration and is due out next week. A preliminary copy of the book was obtained by the Guardian.
According to Meadows, Trump initially tested positive for COVID-19 on September 26, three days before the first of two clashes with Biden.
The test result returned the same day the White House held a ceremony to mark Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment to the Supreme Court, which many critics decried as a COVID “super-spreader event”.
According to the report, Meadows recalled that Trump looked “a little tired” and suspected the then president had a “slight cold”. However, Meadows said he was “satisfied” that Trump was going to an evening rally in Pennsylvania – until the chief of staff got a call from White House doctor Sean Conley.
“Stop the President from leaving,” Meadows recalls, telling him that Conley. “He just tested positive for COVID. ”
At this point, however, Trump was already aboard Air Force One.
When Meadows broke the news of Trump’s positive test, the former North Carolina congressman recalled that the then chief executive’s response “rhymes with[d] with ‘Oh spit, you have to cover me by truck.’ “
According to Meadows, the sample that returned a positive test with an old model kit was retested using the “Binax System” and came back negative.
While Trump viewed the negative result as “full permission to continue as if nothing happened,” Meadows says he ordered everyone in his immediate circle to treat the president as if he was infected.
“I didn’t want to take unnecessary risks,” Meadows reportedly wrote, “but I also didn’t want to alarm the public if there was nothing to worry about – which, according to the much more accurate new test, was not.”
The public was never made aware of the positive test.
To participate in the debate, Trump and Biden had to test negative for the coronavirus within 72 hours, and according to Meadows, “nothing was going to stop [Trump] to go out there.
On the day of the debate in Cleveland, Meadows says, Trump’s health appeared slightly better, with “the emphasis on the word slightly. “
“Her face, at least for the most part, had returned to its usual light bronze hue, and the gravel in her voice was gone,” Meadows reportedly wrote. “But the dark circles under his eyes had deepened. As we walked into the room around five at night, I could tell he was moving slower than usual. He was walking as if he was carrying a little extra weight on his back.
Three days later, on October 2, Trump announced that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19. The former president has since speculated that he contracted the virus during an event on September 27 where he met several military families.
On September 28, a day before the debate, Trump hosted an event with business leaders and later a press conference “on the work we had all done to fight COVID-19.”
Meadows recalled that “somewhat ironically” the president spoke of new tests which were “supposed to give faster and more accurate readings of whether someone was positive or not.”
After announcing his diagnosis, Trump spent three days at Walter Reed Medical Center. The president and his wife were vaccinated against COVID-19 before leaving the White House.
On Wednesday, Biden was asked about Meadows’ revelation and whether the current president believed his predecessor had put him in danger.
“I’m not thinking of the former president,” Biden replied before walking away.