Donald Trump tested positive for COVID three days before his first debate against Joe Biden, held on September 29, as noted by the former president’s fourth and final chief of staff, Mark Medows, in a new book.
Meadows writes that while he knew that each candidate had to “test negative within 72 hours of starting … Nothing was going to stop [Trump] go. ”Trump, Meadows says in the book, gave a negative result that came out on a different test shortly after positive.
The former president announced that he had COVID on October 2. The White House, for its part, said it announced the test result an hour after receiving it. That same day he went to the hospital.
In a statement Wednesday, Trump denied Meadows’ claims. The chief of staff maintains that Trump’s positive test result on Sept. 26 came as a shock to a White House that had just staged a triumphant ceremony for then-Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barrett, an event now generally regarded as high-profile. transmission.
Although the president seemed “a little tired” and suspected he had a “slight cold,” Meadows says he was “happy” that Trump was traveling that afternoon to a rally in Middletown, Pennsylvania. But as Marine One took off, Meadows writes, the White House medic called him. “It stops the president from leaving,” Meadows says Sean Conley told him. “He just tested positive.”
After testing positive, Meadows told Trump that they would repeat the test hoping it was a false positive. After “a brief but tense wait,” Meadows called again with news of the negative result. He could almost hear the collective “Thank God” echoing through the booth, “he writes.
Meadows says Trump took that call as “full permission to move on like nothing happened.” His chief of staff, however, “instructed everyone in his inner circle to treat him as a positive” throughout the trip to Pennsylvania.
“I didn’t want to take unnecessary risks,” Meadows writes, “but I also didn’t want to alarm the public if there was nothing to worry about, which according to the new, much more precise test, there wasn’t,” writes the author.
The debate moderator, Chris Wallace, later said that Trump was not tested before the debate because he was late. The organizers, Wallace said, trusted his honor. The White House, for its part, has not said that Trump tested positive and then negative. Three days later, on October 2, the president announced that he had tested positive.