Report: White House knew Hicks had coronavirus, Trump came to NJ anyway
Some White House staffers knew by early Thursday that top aide Hope Hicks — who'd been traveling with President Donald Trump this week — had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a CNN report. But nonetheless, Trump attended a fundraiser at his golf club in Bedminster later that day — just hours before testing positive himself.
"So the question is going to be for the White House, why did the president still go to New Jersey, knowing that he could potentially put these people at risk, these donors and fund raisers?" CNN Correspondent Kaitlan Collins said on the network in an overnight segment. "And of course, why did the press secretary still hold a briefing despite knowing she had come into contact with somebody who had just tested positive for coronavirus?"
According to a timeline by the Associated Press, Hicks was part of a large entourage that traveled with the President to Ohio for the first presidential debate of the general election. The AP also reported Trump's children and senior staff violated host venue rules by not wearing masks during the debate.
Hicks then accompanied the president Wednesday to a fundraiser at a private home in suburban Minneapolis and an outdoor rally in Duluth, the AP reported. She isolated herself after feeling unwell on the trip back, and tested positive Thursday.
Trump flew to Bedminster Thursday for the event at his golf course. The AP reports several aides who'd been in proximity with Hicks skipped the trip.
Trump announced on Twitter just before 1 a.m. Friday that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the novel coronavirus and would begin quarantining.
It wasn't immediately clear how many people were at the Bedminster event with Trump, and how close their contact with the president was.
Trump’s handling of the pandemic has already been a major flashpoint in his race against Democrat Joe Biden, who spent much of the summer off the campaign trail and at his home in Delaware because of the virus. Biden has since resumed a more active campaign schedule, but with small, socially distanced crowds. He also regularly wears a mask in public, something Trump mocked him for at Tuesday night’s debate.
“I don’t wear masks like him," Trump said of Biden. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from me, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”
(Includes material copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)