The Guardian reports that in a new book, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows claims former President Trump tested positive for COVID-19 three days before his first presidential debate with Joe Biden last year. That was about a week before Trump disclosed his COVID status to the world — and would mean that Trump walked onto the stage knowing that he easily could have infected his rival. Yep, that sounds like him all right.
Meadows writes in The Chief’s Chief, his forthcoming account of his turbulent time in the White House, that Trump received a negative test from a Binax rapid COVID kit shortly after his positive test, which had come from an older test. (He did not bother to take a PCR test, which is the recommended protocol.) Trump took that as a sign that nothing was amiss. And since presidential debate organizers inexplicably relied on the honor system, he was free and clear to yell at Joe Biden for 90 minutes straight on September 29, somehow not infecting him. Trump announced he had COVID on October 2, and went to the hospital that day.
The president had not exactly secluded himself in the days after his initial positive test. Among other engagements, he attended an event on September 27 for Gold Star families — whom he later pointed at as the possible source of his infection. He also spoke to reporters in close quarters, at least one of whom tested positive days later. Surely Trump shed some tears over that diagnosis.
In a statement on Wednesday morning, Trump denied having COVID before the debate — but not that he had tested positive.