Seven days: Following Trump?s reckless coronavirus path

When he first realized he had examined constructive for the corona­virus, President Donald Trump was already aboard Air Power One, en route to an enormous rally in Middletown, Pa.

With him on the airplane that Saturday night had been dozens of individuals — senior aides, Air Power One personnel, junior staffers, journalists and different members of the big entourage typical for a presidential journey — all squeezed collectively within the recirculating air of a jetliner.

“Cease the president,” White Home doctor Sean Conley informed Chief of Employees Mark Meadows, in response to a brand new e book by Meadows set to publish Tuesday that was obtained by the Guardian newspaper. “He simply examined constructive for covid.”

However Meadows asserts in his e book that it was too late to cease Trump and {that a} second fast antigen check — apparently accomplished utilizing the identical pattern — got here again damaging. However underneath pointers from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, Trump ought to have taken a extra correct polymerase chain response (PCR) check to verify whether or not he had the coronavirus.

“Had I been there, and Dr. Conley would have informed me they’d have acquired a constructive check, I might have assumed it was correct and admittedly canceled all the things immediately,” mentioned John F. Kelly, one in all Trump’s earlier chiefs of workers, including that he additionally would have rushed Trump to Walter Reed Nationwide Navy Medical Middle. “To do anything could be irresponsible.”

In reality, Trump was hospitalized at Walter Reed a few week later. From the day he examined constructive till his hospitalization, Trump got here in touch with greater than 500 folks, both these in proximity to him or at crowded occasions, not together with rallygoers, in response to a Washington Submit evaluation of the president’s interactions throughout that interval.

That seven-day window reveals a president and chief of workers who took a reckless, and doubtlessly harmful, strategy to dealing with the coronavirus, together with Trump’s personal constructive check.

Trump and Meadows hid Trump’s constructive check not simply from the general public, but in addition from his inside circle and from his high public well being officers. He took half in a debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden three days later, by no means revealing the check consequence to Biden or occasion organizers.

And Trump took no additional precautions, equivalent to mask-wearing or social distancing, to guard these he got here in touch with within the days following the constructive check.

By the top of October, greater than two dozen folks in Trump’s orbit would check constructive for the coronavirus.

In line with the official narrative of the Trump White Home, the president first examined constructive for the virus on the night of Thursday, Oct. 1, and was taken by helicopter to Walter Reed lower than 24 hours later. However medical consultants say {that a} extra possible timeframe is no less than per week between an preliminary constructive check and a affected person requiring hospitalization.

“It will make extra sense that you’d check constructive after which lots of sufferers we see hospitalized find yourself hospitalized on Day 10 or that second week, when the inflammatory response of the immune system is taking on,” mentioned Abraar Karan, an infectious-disease physician and international well being researcher at Stanford College. “Let’s say you’re uncovered immediately. Chances are you’ll not check constructive for 3 to 5 days as a result of the virus is in its early phases incubating, in order that first week, you’re testing constructive, but it surely’s actually in that second week — seven, 10, 14 days out — that you possibly can have extra extreme signs from inflammatory response.”

In a press release Wednesday, Trump denied Meadows’s account and Meadows tried to stroll again the information in his e book, saying by a spokesman that “the e book is kind of clearly referring to a ‘false constructive’ fast check the president acquired.” He additionally claimed that after the preliminary constructive check, Trump “acquired a number of confirmatory assessments that got here again damaging,” though Meadows describes just one damaging check in his e book, in response to the Guardian account.

There isn’t any manner of realizing whether or not the preliminary Sept. 26 coronavirus check was a false constructive or, moderately, the primary true indicator of the virus that may fell Trump days later. Each Meadows and Trump have beforehand misled the general public on a number of points, together with Trump’s covid standing. Meadows declined to remark additional by a spokesman, and a Trump spokesman didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Both manner, Meadows writes, Trump took the second damaging check as “full permission to press on as if nothing had occurred.”

Trump continued onto the rally of hundreds, the place he barely mentioned the virus, referring to it at instances because the “China virus” and the “plague from China.”

On the return journey residence, Trump ventured again to the press cabin — unmasked — the place he spoke with the media for roughly 10 minutes off the file. One of many reporters on Air Power One which day, Michael Shear of the New York Occasions, would check constructive for the coronavirus lower than per week later. Two different members of the White Home press corps examined constructive the identical day as Shear, in response to stories.

And even Meadows, on the day Trump first acquired the check he says was a false constructive, appeared to sense one thing was amiss. In his e book, he describes Trump as wanting “a bit of drained,” explaining that he assumed the president had a “slight chilly.”

Trump started his Saturday with a non-public indoor assembly of evangelical leaders. However the actual pleasure, for Trump, got here later within the day: a Rose Backyard ceremony to announce his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court docket.

Simply after 5 p.m., to the strains of “Hail to the Chief,” Trump strode into the Rose Backyard. The gang of roughly 150 folks — many maskless — stood and cheered when Trump introduced Barrett’s identify, earlier than he extolled his excessive courtroom choose for about 10 minutes.

At one level, Trump joked, “It’s going to be extraordinarily noncontroversial.”

Afterward, a lot of friends filed again into the White Home for a non-public reception, together with some who joined on the final minute. Trump and first woman Melania Trump additionally met with Barrett, her husband, six of their kids, and Vice President Mike Pence and his spouse, Karen, within the Oval Workplace, none of them carrying masks.

Trump then left the White Home for his marketing campaign rally in Pennsylvania, stopping first to talk to the press on the South Garden. It was simply after Marine One lifted off, at 6:35 p.m., that Meadows acquired the decision from Conley warning that Trump had simply examined constructive.

The reckless timeline of Trump’s constructive coronavirus check

A number of White Home advisers who attended the Barrett occasion mentioned attendees had been by no means informed that Trump had acquired a constructive check after the occasion. The advisers, like another folks contacted by The Submit for this text, spoke on the situation of anonymity to share candid particulars.

Meadows says in his e book that he “instructed everybody in his fast circle to deal with him as if he was constructive,” however he didn’t inform aides in Trump’s fast orbit that Trump had acquired a constructive check, in response to a number of former senior Trump officers who mentioned they need to have been alerted.

Neither Pence — who attended the Rose Backyard ceremony Saturday — nor his staff was informed that Trump had examined constructive that day, in response to a former senior administration official with direct information of the matter. Pence continued to work together with Trump within the following days.

The Rose Backyard ceremony would later change into generally known as an obvious superspreader occasion, with greater than a half dozen attendees testing constructive for the coronavirus inside the week — together with Trump, his spouse, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, Notre Dame President John Jenkins, and Republican Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Thom Tillis (N.C.).

Total, Trump got here in touch with roughly 150 folks that Saturday, in response to The Submit’s evaluation.

Trump spent Sunday morning {golfing} at Trump Nationwide Golf Membership in Virginia. Anti-Trump protesters stood outdoors holding indicators noting the mounting demise toll from covid: 200,000 Individuals and counting.

Later within the day, Trump held a 37-minute information convention within the White Home briefing room, sans masks.

He additionally hosted an occasion within the East Wing for Gold Star households who’ve misplaced family members to navy fight. Attendees included Pence and his spouse; Military Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Employees; and Adm. Charles W. Ray, then the vice commandant of the Coast Guard, who examined constructive for the coronavirus on Monday, Oct. 5.

Later, after Trump’s hospitalization, the president appeared guilty the Gold Star households for presumably giving him the virus.

“They inform me these tales, and I can’t say, ‘Again up, stand 10 ft away,’ you already know? I simply can’t do it. And I went by like 35 folks, and everybody has a unique story,” Trump mentioned in an interview on Fox Information, referring to the Gold Star occasion. “They arrive inside an inch of my face typically, they wish to hug me and so they wish to kiss me. And so they do. And albeit, I’m not telling them to again up. I’m not doing it, however clearly it’s a harmful factor, I assume, should you go by the covid factor.”

Kelly, Trump’s former chief of workers, mentioned his conduct was irresponsible.

“You don’t need him infecting different folks, whether or not it’s Gold Star households, members of the Cupboard, or Secret Service, the workers, or anybody else round him,” Kelly mentioned.

Trump got here in touch with roughly 70 folks that Sunday, in response to The Submit’s evaluation.

Simply earlier than 11 a.m. on Sept. 28, 13 reporters had been invited to look at Trump examine a silver Lordstown Motors 2021 electrical pickup on the South Garden. Different attendees included a senior White Home adviser, one senator, one congressman and three Lordstown Motors staff.

Later within the afternoon, Trump and Pence held a Rose Backyard occasion to debate the admiration’s plans for combating the coronavirus. The boys had been joined by 11 high administration officers, in addition to a governor, two state lawmakers and the chief of a coronavirus testing firm.

“Considerably mockingly, contemplating his circumstances,” Meadows wrote in his e book, in response to the Guardian, Trump’s remarks included a brand new testing technique that was “supposed to offer faster, extra correct readings about whether or not somebody was constructive or not.”

As he launched Adm. Brett Giroir, the White Home coronavirus testing coordinator, Trump joked, “Good luck. Hope you don’t check constructive.”

Trump got here in touch with roughly 30 folks that Monday, in response to The Submit’s evaluation.

The Tuesday morning of the primary presidential debate, Trump huddled on the White Home along with his debate prep staff, a bunch of roughly 10 senior advisers and outdoors confidants.

In his e book, Meadows describes Trump as wanting barely higher than he did on the day of his constructive check, however with an “emphasis on the phrase barely.”

“His face, for probably the most half no less than, had regained its traditional gentle bronze hue, and the gravel in his voice was gone,” Meadows writes. “However the darkish circles underneath his eyes had deepened.”

In midafternoon, Trump traveled to Cleveland for the controversy, joined aboard Air Power One by no less than 13 workers, members of the family and confidants, and was greeted on the airport by 4 Ohio state representatives.

One adviser who traveled with Trump to the controversy mentioned they’d no information concerning the president testing constructive for the coronavirus a number of days earlier. Trump was not carrying a masks both throughout debate prep earlier within the day or on Air Power One, and didn’t point out his constructive check, this individual added.

“As we walked into the venue round 5 o’clock within the night, I might inform that he was transferring extra slowly than traditional,” Meadows writes of Trump. “He walked like he was carrying a bit of additional weight on his again.”

The candidates relied upon what Fox Information’s Chris Wallace, the controversy moderator, later described as “an honor system” for coronavirus assessments.

What’s wonderful is that Trump didn’t contract the coronavirus even earlier

As soon as inside the controversy corridor — which had an viewers of about 80 folks — most of the friends on Trump’s facet, together with his household, refused to put on masks. That was in violation of the controversy guidelines that requested masks for all attendees. They even declined masks supplied by docs from the Cleveland Clinic, which was overseeing the controversy’s testing protocol.

The controversy, which started simply after 9 p.m., was fiery from the beginning, with Trump repeatedly interrupting Biden and Wallace.

At one level, Trump mocked Biden for his insistence on mask-wearing. “I don’t put on masks like him,” Trump quipped. “Each time you see him, he’s bought a masks. He might be talking 200 ft away from them, and he exhibits up with the most important masks I’ve ever seen.”

Alyssa Farah, the previous White Home communications director, informed The Submit that on the time, she had requested senior workers, together with Meadows, when Trump was final examined earlier than the controversy. However Conley and Meadows informed her to not share with the general public when Trump was final examined and declined to inform even her, she mentioned.

Trump’s Sept. 26 constructive check, she mentioned, “was clearly withheld from me as a result of I might have been among the many senior workers who had been round him. I used to be consistently in proximity. I ought to have been contact traced.”

“It simply demonstrates a disregard for the well-being of others,” Farah mentioned.

Trump got here in touch with roughly 20 folks that Tuesday, in response to The Submit’s evaluation.

The day after the controversy marked the primary inkling in Trump’s orbit that one thing was mistaken.

The day began with an Oval Workplace assembly between Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Later, Trump left the White Home to fly to Minnesota for a fundraiser attended by about 40 folks, adopted by a rally in Duluth.

Trump once more mocked Biden on the rally for holding socially distanced occasions and for criticizing Trump’s bigger, non-socially distanced rallies. However Trump wrapped up his remarks after simply 45 minutes, a notably quick efficiency for him.

In the course of the rally, Hope Hicks, a high Trump aide and shut confidante, had began feeling sick. By the point she boarded Air Power One, she discreetly self-quarantined, exiting the airplane from the rear entrance when it touched down simply after midnight.

Trump got here in touch with roughly 55 folks that Wednesday, in response to The Submit’s evaluation.

Hicks reported to work on Thursday morning, the place — confirming her suspicions — she examined constructive. She went residence to isolate, telling solely Trump and a small cadre of high workers, together with Meadows.

Later within the day, Trump was scheduled to journey to his golf membership in Bedminster, N.J., for a roundtable and fundraiser. Regardless of realizing that Hicks — who had been in common and shut contact with the president — was sick, the White Home determined to go forward with the occasion and didn’t alert attendees upfront concerning the president’s publicity.

On the best way to the fundraiser, Trump didn’t put on a masks on Marine One or round aides, mentioned somebody accustomed to his actions that day. This individual added that a number of of the workers members who flew on Marine One with Trump didn’t even know Hicks had examined constructive after they boarded.

The roundtable, which included roughly two dozen attendees, was indoors. However the primary fundraiser, which had 207 invitees, in response to an inventory offered to The Submit, was outdoors at his golf course.

On the time, some attendees mentioned Trump appeared like himself, however others thought he appeared a bit drained. He departed Bedminster notably early — “about half-hour forward of schedule,” in response to a media report — spending lower than two hours on the property.

In some unspecified time in the future on this interval, Trump examined constructive for the coronavirus. Then Bloomberg Information broke the information of Hicks’s sickness at 8 p.m.

Trump was scheduled to seem on Sean Hannity’s Fox Information present by cellphone. Regardless of having identified about Hicks’s analysis for a number of hours, Trump behaved as if he was shocked — and mentioned nothing of his personal constructive consequence.

“She did check constructive,” Trump mentioned. “I simply heard about this.”

He then informed the host that he and Melania had been getting examined.

“So whether or not we quarantine, or whether or not we have now it, we don’t know,” Trump mentioned.

Trump got here in touch with roughly 200 folks that Thursday, in response to The Submit’s evaluation.

Trump started his Friday with a shock tweet simply earlier than 1 a.m.: “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I examined constructive for COVID-19,” the president wrote. “We’ll start our quarantine and restoration course of instantly. We’ll get by this TOGETHER!”

The marketing campaign canceled Trump’s rally for that night in Florida, however all through the day, White Home workers repeatedly mentioned that Trump — who remained out of public view — was wholesome and robust.

Meadows described Trump to reporters as “in good spirits,” exhibiting solely “gentle signs,” and “very energetic.”

White Home press secretary Kayleigh McEnany equally claimed that Trump was “arduous at work, regardless of the gentle signs.”

However by late afternoon, McEnany launched a press release saying that “out of an abundance of warning,” Trump would journey to Walter Reed. A mask-clad Trump exited the White Home from the Diplomatic Room entrance at 6:16 p.m., giving a thumbs-up and temporary wave, earlier than strolling to Marine One on his personal.

It will later emerge that Trump’s situation was much more perilous than the White Home acknowledged on the time.

One former senior administration official, talking on the situation of anonymity to share a candid opinion, remarked, “Everybody spent months making an attempt to reconstruct the Rose Backyard and it seems it was good outdated Affected person Zero, the president.”

Trump got here in touch with only a few folks that Friday, in response to The Submit’s evaluation. By then, the whole world knew he had covid-19.

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