President Donald Trump is considering an address to the nation on Friday after the shocking news he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus.
President Donald Trump has ‘minor’ COVID-19 symptoms, has been lethargic and fell asleep on Air Force One on Wednesday night, sources say, but is considering an address to the nation on Friday in an effort to prove to the American people is still fit to lead the country despite being diagnosed with the virus and having to quarantine with First Lady Melania.
The pair tweeted at around 1am on Friday morning that they had both tested positive and were isolating in the White House. They were tested after White House aide Hope Hicks tested positive on Thursday morning, hours after traveling with Trump on Air Force Once back from a rally in Minnesota. A handful of aides knew about her diagnosis and kept it quiet for nearly 24 hours, sources say.
The diagnoses have rocked the White House and sent shockwaves through the global markets which were already shaky given the global pandemic and political uncertainty in the US ahead of November’s election.
Trump is 74 years old and is medically obese, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from the virus.
Sources cited by The New York Times on Friday say he is experiencing mild symptoms. On Wednesday evening, he fell asleep on Air Force one on the way back from Minnesota, the source claimed, which is unusual for the president, who tends to tweet and talk with aides during flights.
Also, his rally in Minnesota that night was unusually short by Trump standards – about 45 minutes. His campaign events typically run at least twice that long, clocking in at 90 minutes or more. Other Trump aides told Bloomberg News that Trump was ‘feeling poorly’ on Wednesday but they thought it was because of his intense campaign schedule. The president seemed exhausted, one person said. It’s unclear if Melania is suffering any symptoms.
Joe Biden, Trump’s 77-year-old opponent who he debated on Tuesday night, is being tested on Friday morning. He wished Trump and Melania a speedy recovery in a tweet on Friday morning.
Vice President Mike Pence – who would take over from Trump in the event that he becomes incapacitated – has tested negative as has Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin.
It remains unclear whether any other members of the Trump family have been tested, or what the results of those tests are.
If Trump becomes seriously ill, there are constitutional procedures that would allow Vice President Mike Pence to assume power temporarily, just weeks before the November 3 election. But if Trump suffers mild or no symptoms, the president would be able to tout his recovery as evidence that the virus is a less grave threat than many believe.
Last photo before diagnosis: Donald Trump returns to the White House from his helicopter Marine One on Thursday afternoon, hours before revealing that he and the first lady had tested positive for Covid-19. He had attended a fundraiser in New Jersey
Hope Hicks hours before her diagnosis: Hope Hicks, far right, is pictured boarding Marine One on Wednesday. The President was also onboard alongside Stephen Miller, second from right, Jared Kushner, center. Her coronavirus diagnosis was announced the next day. They were on their way to Minnesota when this photograph was taken. She started feeling unwell on the way back
A TIMELINE OF THE PRESIDENT’S TRAVEL Saturday, September 26: Trump announces his Supreme Court pick at the White House, then travels to a rally in Pennsylvania with aides including Hope Hicks. Sunday, September 27: The president plays golf in Virginia, gives a press conference in the White House briefing room and hosts a reception for Gold Star families. Monday, September 28: Trump gives a press briefing and inspects pickup vehicles on the White House lawn. Tuesday, September 29: Hicks is aboard Air Force One with the president and Melania to travel to the first presidential debate in Cleveland. Hicks is seen leaving the jet without a mask. The president spars with Joe Biden in a chaotic debate. Trump family members do not wear masks during the debate, violating venue rules. Wednesday, September 30: Hicks travels on Marine One and on Air Force One to a rally in Minnesota Wednesday. She is understood to have felt poorly on the way back, quarantining on the presidential plane to get home. Thursday, October 1: Trump still travels to New Jersey for a fundraiser. Hicks tests positive. Trump says he is awaiting test results, before confirming he and wife Melania have tested positive for Covid-19. Friday, October 2: A political rally in Sanford, Florida is cancelled. Advertisement
Hicks tested positive on Thursday after starting to feel unwell on Wednesday night while traveling back from a rally in Minnesota on Air Force One.
The President was on the plane with her but she kept a safe distance from him and others when she started experiencing symptoms.
Despite her not feeling well and then testing positive on Thursday, Trump pushed on with campaign events and traveled to Bedminster, New Jersey, for an event. Behind the scenes, White House aides scrambled to surround him with people who reduced his exposure.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and social media director Dan Scavino were due to join him in Bedminster but they were replaced because of their close contact with Hicks in the days prior.
Hicks, 31, is said to have first felt unwell returning from a rally in Minnesota on the president’s plane Wednesday evening.
She was quarantined away from others on the plane and her diagnosis was confirmed Thursday, according to an administration official.
Trump then continued with his schedule Thursday and traveled to and from his Bedminster, New Jersey golf resort to take part in two campaign events.
He flew back to the White House on Thursday evening, when it was publicly confirmed Hicks had the virus.
Hours later, Trump and Melania shared their own diagnoses on social media.
First Lady Melania, 50, tweeted: ‘As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19.
‘We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements.
‘Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together.’
Trump was last seen by reporters returning to the White House on Thursday evening.
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. That has since been canceled.
The second presidential debate on October 15 is also in doubt, while there is no word yet on whether 77-year-old Joe Biden is being tested or will have to isolate.
Biden tweeted on Friday: ‘Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery. We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family.’
Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, wished Trump and Melania a speedy recovery
The president tweeted the news of his diagnosis shortly before 1am EST Friday, writing: ‘Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!’
Markets reacted badly after Trump’s diagnosis today, with stock futures losing 1.9 per cent on the S&P 500, while oil prices also slipped.
Europe’s major stock markets also dived in opening trade on Friday, with London’s FTSE 100 and Frankfurt’s DAX 30 both shedding more than one per cent.
‘To say this potentially could be a big deal is an understatement,’ Holland’s Rabobank said in a commentary.
‘Anyway, everything now takes a backseat to the latest incredible twist in this US election campaign.’
Following last night’s news, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted: ‘The strength of the entire country is with President @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS. America stands united.
‘Our country stands strong. Your President will continue to put the People first!’
In a letter to McEnany, White House physician Sean Conley said medics would keep a ‘vigilant watch’ on the president’s health.
Since 1am on Friday, when the diagnoses emerged;
Trump and Melania went into quarantine at the White House and told the nation they were feeling ‘good’
Joe Biden prepared for his own COVID test; Mike Pence and Steve Mnuchin tested negative
The Dow Jones Futures Index sank 1.9 percent and oil prices plummeted, spreading fear among the markets before opening bell
It emerged that White House aides had kept Hope Hicks’ diagnosis a secret and replaced people to travel with Trump to an event on Thursday because they feared they’d come into contact with her
Global reaction to the news varied from concern and sympathy among well-wishers like Boris Johnson to cruel taunts from celebrities like Dominic West and conspiracy theories that Trump had made up his diagnosis to get out of the next presidential debate after Tuesday’s car-crash effort in Cleveland
‘The President and First Lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence,’ Dr Conley said.
‘The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our our country’s greatest medical professionals and institutions.
‘Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any future developments.’
White House physician Dr Sean Conley sent a letter to press secretary Kayleigh McEnany saying that the president and first lady were ‘well’ and promising to keep a ‘vigilant watch’
Joe Biden, pictured on the campaign trail in his home state of Delaware on Thursday, spent Tuesday night in fairly close proximity to the president but there was no immediate word on whether he had been tested or was isolating. He will be tested on Friday morning
NEGATIVE: Both Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary Treasury Steve Mnuchin tested negative on Friday morning
Both Ivanka and Jared Kushner went to work on Friday morning (above). Neither has confirmed if they’ve had a test since Trump’s diagnosis
Vice President Pence said: ‘Karen and I send our love and prayers to our dear friends President Donald Trump and [first lady] Melania Trump.
DOW FUTURES PLUNGE AFTER TRUMP’S COVID DIAGNOSIS US stock index futures sank as much as 2 percent on Friday as the Dow plunged more than 350 points after President Donald Trump said he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures lost 356 points, or 1.3 percent, which pointed to a possible opening loss of more than 300 points when Wall Street opens later on Friday morning. S&P 500 futures fell 1.4 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures declined 1.9 percent. The US stock index futures dropped immediately after Trump tweeted news of his positive COVID-19 test results on Thursday evening after Wall Street had closed. His tweet came just hours after the White House announced that senior aide Hope Hicks had come down with the virus after traveling with Trump several times this week. The heightened turmoil sent US futures sinking as investors nervously awaited Wall Street’s reopening. Advertisement
‘We join millions across America praying for their full and swift recovery.
‘God bless you President Trump and our wonderful First Lady Melania.’
UK prime minister Boris Johnson, who survived a scare with the virus in April, sent his best wishes to the president and first lady on Twitter, saying: ‘Hope they both have a speedy recovery from coronavirus.’
Trump’s ally Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, said that ‘like millions of Israelis, Sara and I are thinking of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and wish our friends a full and speedy recovery’.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyeusus, the head of the WHO who has clashed with Trump over the agency’s handling of the pandemic, also sent his best wishes to the president for a ‘full and speedy recovery’.
Trump has accused the WHO of being too close to China and announced earlier this year that the US would cut off funding for the Geneva-based body.
News of Trump’s infection has turned attention to Hope Hicks and her travel schedule after the White House aide first felt poorly on the way back from Wednesday’s rally in Minnesota.
Along with the trip to Minnesota, Hicks had been aboard Air Force One to fly to Tuesday night’s first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio.
She was spotted by DailyMail.com getting off Air Force One in the city without her mask.
On Tuesday, she was seen 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.
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.
Before announcing his positive test, Trump tweeted to say he and Melania were in quarantine while they awaited their results because of Hicks’s diagnosis.
‘Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible!,’ the president said.
Speaking to Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday, 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.
WEDNESDAY: The crowd cheers as Air Force One arrives with President Donald Trump at Duluth International Airport on Wednesday. Hicks had joined the president on the trip and felt poorly on the way home, according to reports
WEDNESDAY: President Trump throws hats to supporters after speaking at a campaign rally at Duluth International Airport
Who has President Trump been in contact with? Traveled on Marine One to a Minnesota rally on Wednesday: Hope Hicks, counselor to the president Jared Kushner, senior adviser to the president Dan Scavino, Social Media Director John McEntee, Director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office Tuesday’s debate in Ohio, where Trump traveled on Air Force One: Rudy Giuliani, personal attorney. Giuliani had spent the weekend at the White House doing debate prep Mark Meadows, White House chief of staff Trump’s children and their partners: Donald Trump Jr, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Ivanka Trump, Tiffany Trump Bill Stepien, campaign manager Kayleigh McEnany, press secretary Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his wife Jill Guests of Trump including Alice Johnson, who was pardoned of federal drug offenses at the urging of Kim Kardashian At the White House since Saturday with close unmasked contact with Trump: Amy Coney Barrett, Supreme Court nominee. She then had mask-free meetings with Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and other Republican senators from Monday Vice President Mike Pence Robert Ford, CEO of Abbott Laboratories, who was at the White House on Monday Admiral Brett Geroir, assistant Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar, HHS secretary East Wing aides, including valets and other White House staff who serve the first family Secret Service protection agents Advertisement
‘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 said he was ‘surprised’ to hear that Hicks, who previously served as White House communications director and re-joined the administration this year ahead of the election, 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.
There was no immediate comment from Joe Biden’s campaign on whether the former vice president had been tested since appearing at Tuesday’s debate with Trump.
Biden, 77, stood some distance apart from the president but there were plenty of raised voices in the bad-tempered debate. The CDC warns that shouting can spread the disease.
CNN’s medical correspondent Dr Sanjay Gupta said Biden should be ‘immediately tested’, warning that ‘if you are indoors, you could…
By Emily Goodin, Senior Political Reporter Jennifer Smith Lauren Fruen For Dailymail.com
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