Hours before Donald Trump announced he and wife Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19 Friday morning, the president seemed "tired" and subdued while speaking Thursday at a roundtable event and fundraiser in Bedminster, New Jersey, people who interacted with him that day told CNN. While a senior administration official said Trump has not been showing major symptoms, one person who interacted with the president Thursday said his voice sounded hoarse and lethargic, which they assumed was due to recent campaign rallies and travel.
Trump is coming off Tuesday's first presidential debate with Democratic candidate Joe Biden, where neither he nor Biden wore masks at the socially-distanced event. Despite the space between Trump and Biden on stage, neither the Trump campaign nor the White House contacted the Biden campaign to alert them of possible exposure, a senior campaign official who was with Biden at the debate told CNN. Biden is expected to undergo testing today.
The president's close adviser, Hope Hicks, was the closest known person to the president to have contracted the virus before he tested positive. Pressed on the timing of when the White House learned of her positive diagnosis, chief of staff Mark Meadows conceded to CNN that officials did know Hicks had contracted the virus before Marine One took off for New Jersey on Thursday afternoon for a fundraiser. Meadows said several staffers were pulled from Marine One, shutting down questions as to why the trip proceeded, with Trump coming into contact with numerous supporters at the event.
"I'm not going to get into the tick tock. I can tell you, in terms of Hope Hicks, we discovered that right as the Marine One was taking off yesterday," Meadows said Friday. "We actually pulled some of the people that have been traveling and in close contact. The reason why it was reported out, just frankly, is that we had already started to contact tracing just prior to that event."
Meadows would not answer when asked if Trump is being treated with hydroxychloroquine, controversial treatment he repeatedly touted despite protests from medical professionals. "Well, I'm not going to get into any particular treatment that he may or may not have but he has mild symptoms as we look at that the doctor will continue to provide expertise in the residence. He's in the residence now, and in a true fashion he's probably critiquing the way that I'm answering these questions," Meadows said.