President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19 after one of the president’s closest aides, Hope Hicks, tested positive for the coronavirus.
On Twitter, Trump wrote “Tonight,@FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”
He did not specify what quarantine procedures he would take, but public health officials advise individuals who have been in contact with those who test positive for the coronavirus to self-isolate up to two weeks.
Hicks attended the presidential debate on Tuesday evening and also traveled with the president on Wednesday aboard Air Force One to Minnesota.
Trump, 74, learned of Hicks’ diagnosis on Thursday evening, he told Fox News in an interview. “We spent a lot of time with Hope and others. So we’ll see what happens,” he said.
“It’s a tough kind of a situation. It’s a terrible thing. So I just went for a test, and we’ll see what happens. I mean, who knows,” he said.
Other top White House aides have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent months, including a valet for Trump; Katie Miller, a top media aide to Vice President Mike Pence; and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.
Trump and Pence, with the election approaching, have increased their travel and attendance at crowded events with little social distancing and minimal use of masks, indoors and outside.
“It’s very, very hard when you’re with people from the military, or from law enforcement, and they come over to you, and 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,” Trump said.
In July, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that Trump was being tested daily for the coronavirus. Trump said it was more like every other day.
Since that time, administration officials have declined to offer details on the president’s testing regimen.
The president in recent weeks has told Americans that the coronavirus pandemic, which has taken the lives of more than 207,000 people in the United States, is nearing its end, and that his administration would soon “defeat” the novel pathogen with a vaccine produced at record speed.
On Thursday night, in a taped message to the annual Al Smith Dinner, Trump offered a similar message.
“The end of the pandemic is in sight, and next year will be one of the greatest years in the history of our country,” he said.