Trump, first lady to quarantine after top aide tests positive for coronavirus

President Trump said Thursday that he and first lady Melania Trump would self-quarantine while awaiting coronavirus test results after a top White House aide, Hope Hicks, tested positive for the virus.

“Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19,” Trump tweeted Thursday night, after the news of Hicks’s positive test result broke. “Terrible! The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!”

Trump, speaking earlier on Fox News, said that both he and the first lady had taken tests and were awaiting their results. He confirmed Hicks had tested positive and acknowledged that he spends ample time with her in the White House.

“I just went out with a test … and the first lady just went out with a test also,” he told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “So, whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don’t know.” 

The White House uses Abbott rapid tests, meaning that the president and first lady would likely receive their tests results quickly. While Trump said he planned to quarantine, the schedule released earlier by the White House still showed him attending a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., and a campaign rally in Florida on Friday.   

Bloomberg News first reported Thursday evening that Hicks had tested positive. It is unclear when precisely she received her results, though The New York Times reported that officials have known since Wednesday evening that she had the virus.

Hicks is the adviser closest to the president to test positive for the virus. She traveled with Trump multiple times in the past week, including accompanying him on Air Force One to the presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday and to a campaign rally in Minnesota on Wednesday.

Her case immediately raised questions about whether others in the White House would test positive or need to quarantine as a precaution.

A White House official told The Hill that contact tracing has been done, “and the appropriate notifications and recommendations have been made.”

“The President takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously,” deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement that did not mention Hicks specifically. 

“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.

A handful of others in the White House have tested positive in past months, including Vice President Pence’s communications director Katie Miller and national security adviser Robert O’Brien.

The White House regularly tests Trump and Pence for the virus as well as administering tests to those who come in close contact with them, including members of the press pool and other White House guests. 

But Trump and his aides have also eschewed public health guidelines, holding large campaign rallies even as health experts warn of the potential for them to spread COVID-19.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Hope Hicks Melania Trump Quarantine Sean Hannity Social distancing Trump administration

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