During President Donald Trump's marathon call-in interview with Fox Business Thursday morning, he appeared to blame Gold Star families for giving him the coronavirus. Trump held a special event honoring families who lost loved ones in battle on Sunday, Sept. 27, one day after he hosted Judge Amy Coney Barrett at the White House. Multiple people who attended Barrett's nomination event have since tested positive for the coronavirus, and few people wore masks or followed social distancing guidelines.
Trump told Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo he "figured there would be a chance" he would eventually become infected with the coronavirus, specifically pointing out his meetings with Gold Star families. “Sometimes, I’d be in groups of, for instance, Gold Star families. I met with Gold Star families. I didn’t want to cancel that," Trump said of the Sept. 27 event, reports Politico. "But they all came in, and they all talk about their son and daughter and father. And, you know, they all came up to me, and they tell me a story."
"I met with Gold Star families. I didn't want to cancel that ... I can't say, 'back up' ... they wanna hug me and they wanna kiss me, and they do" -- Trump on now suggesting Gold Start families gave him coronavirus pic.twitter.com/7F2dBzRFgi— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 8, 2020
The families will often tell Trump about how their sons or daughters died in Iraq and Afghanistan and he could not stop them to tell them to back away, Trump said. “I can’t say, ‘Back up, stand 10 feet,’ you know? I just can’t do it," Trump said. He claimed there were "35 people" at one event where each family member had a "different story" they had to share with him. Some family members "come within an inch of my face, sometimes," Trump said, adding that they want to "hug" and "kiss me."
It is not clear when or where Trump contracted the virus since the White House has refused to give a timeline of the president's tests in the days before they announced his positive test on Oct. 2. The positive test result was announced just hours after news that his aide Hope Hicks tested positive leaked to the press. In an interview with Sean Hannity on Oct. 2, Trump appeared to hint that law enforcement or military members may be to blame for Hicks' diagnosis. "It's very, very hard when you are with people from the military or from law enforcement, and they come over to you and 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," Trump told Hannity at the time.
Elsewhere during Thursday's interview with Bartiromo, Trump claimed he was no longer contagious after he spent Saturday and Sunday at Walter Reed Medical Center. Trump said he even wanted to do a rally Thursday night, but would not if he was contagious. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with "mild to moderate COVID-19 remain infectious no longer than 10 days after symptom onset." Those with more severe symptoms can be infections even longer.