Hope Hicks, Top Aide to Donald Trump, Tests Positive for Coronavirus Following Air Force One Flight

Hope Hicks, one of President Donald Trump's longest-serving aides, reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus. Hicks traveled with Trump to and from Tuesday's presidential debate in Cleveland and also traveled with the president to Minnesota on Wednesday. Trump later confirmed Hicks tested positive and said both he and First Lady Melania Trump will start quarantining while they wait for their test results.

There is no indication that Trump himself contracted the virus, sources told Bloomberg. Those close to Hicks were reportedly told she experienced symptoms of COVID-19. "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 said in a statement Thursday. "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."

Several members of the Trump administration have already contracted COVID-19 and recovered, like National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien and Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller. More than 7.2 million Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus and over 200,000 have died. Trump is reportedly tested frequently, while people who work in the White House are tested on a daily basis. Anyone who meets Trump is also tested beforehand.

The Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic has been criticized as inefficient, particularly while Trump continues hosting rallies where thousands of his supporters stand closely together and few wear masks. Most of Trump's rallies have been held outdoors in airplane hangars, but he recently held indoor rallies in Nevada. Trump himself is rarely seen wearing a face mask in public and often belittles former Vice President Joe Biden, his Democratic challenger.

During Tuesday's debate with Biden, Trump said he continued to hold the rallies "because people want to hear what I have to say," notes USA Today. He said they have had "no problem whatsoever" and said if Biden did the same, "nobody will show up." Trump also claimed he supported wearing masks, pulling one out of his pocket, before criticizing Biden for his masks. “I don’t wear masks like him,” Trump said. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask.” Trump also pointed out that the CDC did advise against wearing masks early on in the pandemic, but that guidance changed in April. Biden then cited a CDC estimate that masks could save 100,000 lives by the end of 2020.