- President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19 just hours after his aide and close adviser Hope Hicks did.
- Speaking to Fox News’ Sean Hannity Thursday evening, Trump suggested that members of the military or law enforcement may be responsible for giving Hicks the coronavirus.
- “It’s very hard when you’re with soldiers, when you’re with airmen, when you’re with the Marines, and the police officers,” he said. “When they come over to you, it’s very hard to say ‘stay back, stay back.’ You know, it’s a tough kind of situation.”
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Just a few hours before he and his wife tested positive for COVID-19, President Donald Trump suggested that interactions with the military and police were to blame for a member of his staff falling ill.
After news broke Thursday evening that senior aide and presidential adviser Hope Hicks had tested positive for COVID-19 after traveling with the president, Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that she might have caught the virus from a member of the military or someone from law enforcement.
“She wears masks a lot, but she tested positive,” Trump told Hannity, before explaining that he and the First Lady had gotten tested because they spent a lot of time with Hicks.
“It’s very hard when you’re with soldiers, when you’re with airmen, when you’re with the Marines, and the police officers,” he continued. “When they come over to you, it’s very hard to say ‘stay back, stay back.’ You know, it’s a tough kind of situation. It’s a terrible thing.”
“It is very very hard when you are with people from the military or from law enforcement and they come over to you,” Trump said. “They want to hug you, and they want to kiss you because we really have done a good job for them.”
“You get close, and things happen. I was surprised to hear with Hope, but she’s a very warm person with them,” he said. “She knows there’s a risk, but she young.”
Hicks frequently comes in contact with active-duty military who fly the president’s aircraft, serve as ceremonial guards and greet him and top officials when he visits their bases. The president did not mention a specific instance when troops recently hugged Hicks. It’s extremely unlikely for a service member in uniform to breach protocol with a hug, especially during a pandemic.
Early Friday, Trump announced on Twitter that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19.
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020
It remains to be seen if the president will attempt to use the military or law enforcement as a possible explanation for his own positive test.
Trump has repeatedly downplayed the severity of COVID-19, a virus that has infected millions in the US and claimed the lives of 200,000 Americans.
He has also mocked political opponent and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for wearing masks and keeping his distance from supporters at events.
It is unclear where the president may have contracted the virus. He attended the first presidential debate this past week, as well as several rallies. In his travels, he has passed frequently through Joint Base Andrews-Naval Air Facility Washington.
On Sunday, Trump attended a Gold Star families event at the White House with Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, and other senior military leaders. Both Esper and the chairman tested negative.