Report: Trump didn’t disclose first positive COVID-19 test

Wall Street Journal reports Trump did not disclose a positive result from a rapid COVID-19 test while awaiting the results of a second.

Ben Ariel ,

Prseident Trump in Oval Office
Prseident Trump in Oval Office
Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

US President Donald Trump did not disclose a positive result from a rapid test for COVID-19 on Thursday while awaiting the findings from a more thorough coronavirus screening, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

According to the report, Trump received a positive result on Thursday evening before making an appearance on Fox News in which he didn’t reveal those results. Instead, he confirmed earlier reports that Hope Hicks, one of his top aides, had tested positive for coronavirus and mentioned the second test he had taken that night for which he was awaiting results.

“I’ll get my test back either tonight or tomorrow morning,” Trump said during the interview. Hours later, just before 1:00 a.m. Eastern Time, on Friday, the president tweeted that he indeed had tested positive.

Under White House protocols, the more reliable test that screens a specimen from deeper in the nasal passage is administered only after a rapid test shows a positive reading. Based on people familiar with the matter, the president’s tests followed that protocol.

According to the Wall Street Journal, as the virus spread among the people closest to him, Trump also asked one adviser not to disclose results of their own positive test. “Don’t tell anyone,” Trump said, according to a person familiar with the conversation.

The report also claimed that Trump and his top advisers also aimed to keep such a close hold on the early positive results that his campaign manager, Bill Stepien, didn’t know that Hicks had tested positive on Thursday morning until news reports later that evening, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Meanwhile on Sunday, Trump drove out of the Walter Reed medical center to greet supporters who gathered near the hospital.

Trump waved to the supporters and returned to his room in the medical center.

Before the short ride, the president recorded a video message in which he said, "It's been a very interesting journey, I learned a lot about COVID. I learned it by really going to school. This is the real school. This isn't the let's-read-the-book school, and I get it, and I understand it."

Trump related to his plan to go out and see the supporters and said, "I also think we're going to pay a little surprise to some of the great patriots that we have out on the street. They've been out there for a long time and they've got Trump flags and they love our country."