Former President Trump has denied allegations that he had COVID-19 “prior or during” his first debate against then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, rejecting claims shared by his close ally and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

In a short statement on Wednesday, Trump called the allegations “fake news.” 

Meadows made the claim in his new book, titled “The Chief’s Chief.” In the book, which has yet to be released, he wrote that shortly after getting the positive result, Trump was retested and received a negative result. 

Trump skirted around the details of the incident and emphasized that the test revealed that he did not have COVID-19 prior to the debate. He did not specify if it was the first test, in which he tested negative, or the second test after his false positive result, as Meadows stated.

“In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID prior to the debate,” Trump said.

Meadows said in his book that although Trump was aware that in order to participate in the debate each candidate had to test negative within 72 hours of its start time, “Nothing was going to stop [Trump] from going out there,” according to The Guardian, which obtained a copy of the book.

According to Meadows, Trump’s initial positive test on Sept. 26, 2020, shocked White House insiders.

He recalled the White House doctor calling just before Trump was scheduled to take off on Marine One, according to The Guardian.

Meadows added that Trump tested negative a second time after using a more advanced Binax testing kit, which he said Trump took as “full permission to press on as if nothing had happened.”

It was not until Oct. 2, three days after the debate with Biden, that Trump announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19. He went to the hospital later that day.

On Tuesday, Meadows announced he would cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot and is providing records. The former chief of staff is a key figure in the committee’s probe and was allegedly deeply involved in Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. 

Trump has claimed that the committee’s work would violate his executive privilege and has legally tried to prevent access to his presidential records.  

Tags Donald Trump Joe Biden Mark Meadows

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