President Trump learned on Thursday morning that his close aide Hope Hicks tested positive for coronavirus — just as his plane took off for a scheduled fundraiser in New Jersey, his chief of staff said Friday.
The president departed the White House in Marine One to Joint Base Andrews at 12:45 p.m., according to his official schedule. He did not speak to reporters on the South Lawn.
It was at takeoff that Hicks’ COVID-19 diagnosis came to light.
“I can tell you in terms of Hope Hicks, we discovered that right as the Marine One was taking off yesterday,” White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Friday morning. “We actually pulled some of the people that had been traveling and (were) in close contact.”
Meadows did not specify who was held back.
Trump arrived at Joint Base Andrews 10 minutes later and flew from DC to Morristown at 1:05 p.m. with White House spokesman Judd Deere and aide John McEntee in tow, according to pool reports.
Air Force One arrived at Morristown Municipal Airport at 1:55 p.m.
Ten minutes later, he flew to his golf resort in Bedminster for the fundraiser — with Meadows saying contact tracing efforts began just before the roundtable event with supporters at 3 p.m.
Donald Trump makes his way to board Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on October 1, 2020.
AFP via Getty Images
Donald Trump walks from Marine One to the White House on Oct. 1, 2020, as he returns from Bedminster, N.J.
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Press was not allowed into the event.
Trump then delivered remarks at the club around 3:45 p.m. and left a little over an hour later for Morristown. He flew out of the New Jersey airport at 5:20 p.m., landed at Joint Base Andrews at 6:10 p.m. then left for the White House at 6:20 p.m.
He arrived at the White House’s South Lawn at 6:30 p.m. and also didn’t speak to reporters, instead waving and giving a thumbs up.
After returning to the White House, Trump called into Fox News at 9 p.m., saying he’d learned of Hicks’ positive test and that he was awaiting the results of his own.
Shortly after midnight, the president tweeted that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for coronavirus.
Hicks’ diagnosis came after she traveled on Air Force One with Trump to the first presidential debate on Tuesday and rally in Minnesota on Wednesday.
The commander-in-chief’s jaunt to New Jersey included a cohort of pool reporters and photographers — from the Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg, Los Angeles Times, Agence France-Presse, New York Times, CBS and ABC.
Additional reporting by Ebony Bowden and Steven Nelson