President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump went into quarantine Thursday evening as the couple wait their own test results following the news top aide Hope Hicks tested positive for COVID-19.
‘Whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don’t know,’ Trump said during a call-in interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity on Thursday night. ‘I just went for a test and we’ll see what happens.’
He later tweeted: ‘Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible! The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!’
Trump made the comments following news that Hicks, one his closest aides, tested positive for the coronavirus after spending time in close proximity to him this week. The president said he expected to have the results back either Thursday night or Friday morning.
Reporter Steve Herman tweeted: ‘I was on the Air Force One flights to/from #Minnesota on Wednesday as one of the pool reporters. Just had a rapid #COVID19 test this evening and it was negative.’
Hicks traveled with the president multiple times this week, including aboard Marine One, the presidential helicopter, 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.
The New York Times reports White House officials have known since Wednesday evening that she had the virus.
Since then, the president traveled to and from his Bedminster, New Jersey golf resort to take part in two campaign events and then flew back to the White House in the evening.
His social media director Dan Scavino and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who were originally set to join him on the Thursday trip, were replaced at the last minute by other aides.
Hicks had also been aboard Air Force One to Tuesday night’s first presidential debate in Cleveland. She was spotted getting off Air Force One in Cleveland without her mask. 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.
She is the closest aide to Trump to test positive so far. She previously served as White House communications director and re-joined the administration this year ahead of the election.
WEDNESDAY: Counselor to the President Hope Hicks, left, with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, walk from Marine One to accompany President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One as he departs Wednesday
TUESDAY: She was spotted getting off Air Force One in Cleveland on Tuesday without her mask
SATURDAY: From left, White House director of social media Dan Scavino, Counselor to the President Hope Hicks, special assistant to the President and White House trip director William Russell, and director of the White House personnel John McEntee listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Harrisburg International Airport, Saturday
TUESDAY: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump wave before boarding Air Force One to travel to the first presidential debate in Cleveland. The president says he and first lady Melania Trump are awaiting their own test results
A TIMELINE OF HICKS’ TRAVEL WITH THE PRESIDENT
Saturday, September 26: Hicks traveled with the president to a rally in Pennsylvania
Tuesday: Hicks was aboard Air Force One with the president to travel to night’s first presidential debate in Cleveland. She is seen leaving the jet without a mask
Wednesday: 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: Hicks tests positive; Trump traveled to New Jersey for a fundraiser and says he is awaiting test results
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. ‘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 also said he was ‘surprised’ to hear that Hicks tested positive.
‘She wears a mask a lot, but she tested positive,’ the president said.
Hicks becomes the latest in Trump’s circle to contract the virus after National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and White House coronavirus task force spokeswoman Katie Miller.
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 did not mention Hicks by name.
Hicks was seen Tuesday 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.
Her positive test was first reported by Bloomberg News.
Hicks joined 20 to 30 aides and family members, including the president’s son Don. Jr, on board Air Force One Tuesday.
Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as he walks from Marine One after arriving on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, October 1, 2020, following campaign events in New Jersey
President Donald Trump walks from Marine One to the White House in Washington, Thursday
Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle walk across the tarmac to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base before flying to Cleveland for the first presidential debate Tuesday
Hope Hicks (far right) is pictured walking to Marine One alongside Jared Kushner, center, to depart from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington DC on Wednesday
Multiple White House staffers have tested positive for the virus, including Katie Miller, Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, and one of the president’s personal valets.
After earlier positive cases close to the president, the White House instituted a daily testing regimen for the president’s senior aides. Others who will be in close proximity to the president and vice president, including reporters, are also tested every day.
Hicks is understood to be experiencing symptoms of the disease.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 quarantine for 14 days, White House staffers are considered essential workers.
CDC’s guidelines for exposed essential workers allows them to return to work if they take precautions, including taking their temperature before going into work, wearing a mask at all times and practicing social distancing.
Trump, the White House and his campaign have flouted other CDC guidelines and recommendations from public health officials, and largely refused to wear masks or practice social distancing.
The virus has killed more than 200,000 Americans and infected more than 7 million nationwide.
DailyMail.com’s Senior U.S. Political Reporter Nikki Schwab took this picture of Hicks Tuesday