President Donald Trump said Thursday that he and first lady Melania Trump are beginning a “quarantine process” as they await coronavirus test results after top aide Hope Hicks whom he spent significant time around this week tested positive for COVID-19.
Trump who is 74 years old is at high risk of serious complications from the virus. He expects the test result back either Thursday night or Friday morning.
Hicks, who is a counselor to Trump, traveled with him to the first presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday. She is said to be the closest White House official to Trump to test positive for the virus so far. According to an administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose private information, Hicks began feeling mild symptoms during the plane ride home from a rally in Minnesota Wednesday evening. She was quarantined away from others on the plane and her diagnosis was confirmed Thursday, the administration official said.
Trump tweeted late Thursday that “The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process.”
Minutes before Trump’s tweet, the White House 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.
Trump stated earlier during a call-in interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity that, “whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don’t know. I just went for a test and we’ll see what happens.”
Several Minnesota Republicans met Trump at Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport Wednesday ahead of his rally in Duluth and a fundraiser in suburban Minneapolis.
In a statement, White House spokesman Judd Deere said 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 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,” Deere said.
Hicks traveled with the President aboard Marine One, the presidential helicopter, and on Air Force One to a rally in Minnesota Wednesday, and aboard Air Force One to Tuesday night’s first presidential debate in Cleveland.
The virus has killed more than 200,000 Americans and infected more than 7 million people nationwide.
Contribution from the Associated Press