US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump test positive for Covid-19

US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump test positive for Covid-19

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump boarding Airforce One

UNITED STATES — President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for coronavirus Thursday evening. 

The president tweeted to confirm the news shortly before 1am EST Friday: ‘Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!’

WEDNESDAY Hope Hicks, far right. is pictured walking to Marine One alongside Jared Kushner, center, to depart from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington DC on Wednesday

It comes following news that Hope Hicks contracted the virus after traveling with the president on Air Force One.

Trump is 74 years old, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from the virus.

‘Whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don’t know,’ Trump, 74, had said during a call-in interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity on Thursday night. ‘I just went for a test and we’ll see what happens.’ He later tweeted: ‘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!’ 

The White House had earlier distributed a schedule for Friday that showed he planned to go forward with a fundraiser at his Washington, D.C., hotel and a political rally in Sanford, Florida.

Hicks began feeling mild symptoms during the plane ride home from a rally in Minnesota Wednesday evening, according to an administration official, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity to disclose private information.

She was quarantined away from others on the plane and her diagnosis was confirmed Thursday, that person said. 

Hicks had traveled with the president multiple times this week, including aboard Marine One, the presidential helicopter, and on Air Force One to the rally in Minnesota Wednesday. 

Since then, the president traveled to and from his Bedminster, New Jersey golf resort to take part in two campaign events and then flew back to the White House this evening.  His social media director Dan Scavino and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who were originally set to join him on the Thursday trip, were replaced at the last minute by other aides. 

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump began ‘their quarantine process’ Thursday evening after Hope Hicks tested positive for COVID-19

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump began ‘their quarantine process’ Thursday evening after Hope Hicks tested positive for COVID-19

Hicks had also been aboard Air Force One to Tuesday night’s first presidential debate in Cleveland. She was spotted getting off Air Force One in the city without her mask. Hicks also traveled with the president to a rally in Pennsylvania last Saturday where she was seen maskless and clapping to the Village People’s YMCA.

She is the closest aide to Trump to test positive so far.

She previously served as White House communications director and re-joined the administration this year ahead of the election.

Speaking to Fox News the president described the 31-year-old Hicks as a ‘very warm person’ and suggested she got close to supporters and contracted the virus.

‘She’s fantastic and she’s done a great job,’ Trump said.

‘But it’s very, very hard when you are with people from the military and from law enforcement and they come over to you and they, they want to hug you and they want to kiss you, because we really have done a good job for them.’

‘And you get close and things happen,’ the president added.

Trump also said he was ‘surprised’ to hear that Hicks tested positive.

‘She wears a mask a lot, but she tested positive,’ the president said.

Typically, according to the CDC, a person develops symptoms five days after being infected, but symptoms can appear as early as two days after infection or as late as 14 days after infection, and the time range can vary.

Hicks becomes the latest in Trump’s circle to contract the virus after National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and White House coronavirus task force spokeswoman Katie Miller.

White House spokesman Judd Deere had earlier said: ‘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 Operations collaborates with the physician to the President and the White House Military Office to ensure all plans and procedures incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting Covid-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible, both on complex and when the president is traveling.’

Deere did not mention Hicks by name.

Hicks was also seen Tuesday in a car without her mask with White House senior adviser Stephen Miller and campaign adviser Jason Miller. She is said to have worn a mask when on Marine One with Trump.

She joined 20 to 30 aides and family members, including the president’s son Don. Jr, on board Air Force One Tuesday.

Her positive test was first reported by Bloomberg News. 

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