On Thursday night it is confirmed by President Donald Trump that his top and close aide Hope Hicks tests positive for COVID-19. Trump and first lady Melania Trump were tested Thursday evening.
“She did test positive, I just heard about this. She tested positive. She’s a hard worker. A lot of masks, she wears masks a lot but she tested positive. Then I just went out with a test. I’ll see — you know because we spent a lot of time — and the first lady just went out with a test also. So whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don’t know,” Trump said during a call-in appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity.”
Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible! The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020
He added, “I just went for a test and we’ll see what happens, I mean, who knows. … I spent a lot of time with Hope and so does the first lady, and she’s tremendous.”
Closest Aide of Trump
Recently during the election campaign, Hicks travelled with Trump multiple times. On Tuesday after Presidential debate in Cleveland, she boarded on Marine One along with Jared Kushner, Dan Scavino and Nicholas Luna. None of them wore masks. The similar company was seen on Wednesday as Trump was heading to a campaign rally in Minnesota.
Although this is a sensitive situation but the President’s public schedule, released just after his appearance on “Hannity,” suggests he will not be observing a quarantine. As per schedule, Trump will attend a fundraiser at his Washington hotel, after that he will travel to Sanford, Florida, for a campaign rally on Friday.
Trump speculated that Hicks could have contracted the virus from an interaction with a supporter.
“She’s a very warm person. She has a hard time when soldiers and law enforcement comes up to her, you know, she wants to treat them great, not say, ‘Stay away, I can’t get near you.’ It’s a very, very tough disease,” he said.
It is also reported that she is experiencing symptoms and is back in Washington. The severity of symptoms is not clear yet.
The response of the White House
“The President takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously,” White House spokesman Judd Deere claimed in a statement when asked about the level of contact between Hicks and Trump.
“White House Operations collaborates with the Physician to the President and the White House Military Office to ensure all plans and procedures incorporate current CDC guidelines and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible both on complex and when the President is travelling,” Deere added.
Some White House staffers who were in close proximity were notified of the positive test result today, one official said.
Challenge for White House
To keep pandemic away from the white house has become a significant challenge for White House staff. In recent past one Navy officer and a cafeteria employee on the White House tested positive. After Hicks tests positive for COVID-19, he has become a fifth positive case from inside the White House.
The White House has to consistently make serious efforts to shield Trump and Vice President Mike Pence from the pandemic, but still, they are travelling to states where cases are surging.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany previously described Trump as the “most tested man in America,” who doesn’t risk spreading the virus to others.