Trump tested positive for COVID before debate with Biden, former chief of staff says in new book

  • In Politics
  • 2021-12-01 18:20:35Z

Former President Donald Trump reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus three days before the first presidential debate with Joe Biden, according to an upcoming book from Trump's former chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Trump tested positive on Sept. 26, 2020, three days before the Sept. 29 debate in Cleveland, reported The Guardian, which obtained a copy of Meadows' memoir, "The Chief's Chief," to be published next week by conservative publisher All Seasons Press.

But Trump got a negative result from another test shortly after the positive one, Meadows writes in the book. The White House on Sept. 26 also held an event for Amy Coney Barrett, whom Trump had just nominated to the Supreme Court. The gathering was later considered a likely COVID-19 "superspreader" event.

Six days later, on Oct. 2, Trump announced he and first lady Melania Trump would begin quarantining after testing positive the previous night - the same day White House adviser Hope Hicks, who had been traveling with Trump, tested positive for the virus.

Robocalls: From buying call lists to going straight to voicemail, robocallers try new tactics

US COVID-19 map: Tracking cases and deaths

President Donald Trump tangles with former Vice President Joe Biden during their first presidential debate on Sept.
President Donald Trump tangles with former Vice President Joe Biden during their first presidential debate on Sept.  

In a statement Wednesday, Trump called Meadows' claims "Fake News. In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID prior to the debate."

Earlier this week, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection said Meadows was cooperating with the committee, possibly to fend off a contempt citation for defying the panel's subpoena for documents and testimony.

The revelations in Meadow's book will likely resurface concerns that Trump may have put now-President Biden and others at risk at the debate just two days before Trump's announced positive result.

While the attendance rules for the debate required that everyone in the audience wear masks, many in Trump's entourage refused. "Anyone in that conference hall, quite honestly, could have been exposed," Susie Welty, a contact tracing expert and technical director of surveillance at the University of California-San Francisco, told USA TODAY in October 2020.

Meadows writes that even though he knew each candidate was required "to test negative for the virus within seventy two hours of the (debate's) start time … Nothing was going to stop (Trump) from going out there," The Guardian reported.

On Sept. 26, when Trump traveled to a rally in Middletown, Pennsylvania, the president looked "a little tired" and may have had a "slight cold," writes Meadows, who was "content" with the decision to hold the rally.

But as the Marine One helicopter lifted off, White House physician Sean Conley called Meadows and said, "Stop the president from leaving. …He just tested positive for COVID."

Meadows said it was too late to stop Trump, but when Trump was on Air Force One, Meadows told him: "Mr. President, I've got some bad news. You've tested positive for COVID-19."

Trump's reply, Meadows writes, "rhyme(d) with 'Oh spit, you've gotta be trucking lidding me'."

The first positive test had been done with an old model testing kit, Meadows writes, and a subsequent one was done using the BinaxNOW test. "We were hoping the first test was a false positive," he writes.

With the negative test result, Trump went on "as if nothing had happened," Meadows writes. But the chief of staff told "everyone in his immediate circle to treat him as if he was positive" throughout the Pennsylvania trip, he writes.

The day of the presidential debate, Trump looked "slightly" better, Meadows writes. "His face, for the most part at least, had regained its usual light bronze hue, and the gravel in his voice was gone," he writes in the book. "But the dark circles under his eyes had deepened. As we walked into the venue around five o'clock in the evening, I could tell that he was moving more slowly than usual. He walked like he was carrying a little extra weight on his back."

Social distancing procedures were in place at the debate, and Trump and Biden did not shake hands. But there was plenty of bluster during the confrontational face-off. Trump constantly interrupted Biden during the debate, while Biden called the president a "clown" and said: "Will you shut up, man?"

Three days later, Trump would announce that he had COVID-19.

Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump reportedly got positive COVID test days before debate with Biden


More Related News

Trump slams "dull" DeSantis ahead of potential 2024 matchup
Trump slams "dull" DeSantis ahead of potential 2024 matchup

Donald Trump is trashing Ron DeSantis in private as an ingrate with a "dull personality" and no realistic chance of beating him in a potential 2024 showdown,...

'An act of terror': Biden condemns Texas synagogue siege while FBI names Briton as hostage-taker
  • US
  • 2022-01-16 21:49:23Z

All four hostages survived unharmed while Malik Faisal Akram, 44, was killed when FBI stormed synagogue after 11-hour standoff A police car in front of the...

Bidens pack carrots, apples into boxes during food bank stop
Bidens pack carrots, apples into boxes during food bank stop

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden packed carrots and apples into food boxes for the hungry and chatted with volunteers Sunday at a food bank as...

Maryland Gov. Hogan says Biden
Maryland Gov. Hogan says Biden's plan to send at-home COVID-19 tests is 'hijacking' the state's plan to buy tests

Hogan said that the Biden administration appeared to be buying up tests that had already been ordered for distribution by states.

For Oath Keepers and founder, Jan. 6 was weeks in the making
For Oath Keepers and founder, Jan. 6 was weeks in the making
  • World
  • 2022-01-16 17:35:49Z

Two days after the election on Nov. 3, 2020, the Oath Keepers were already convinced that victory had been stolen from President Donald Trump and members of ...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Politics