On October 2, 2020, Donald Trump revealed that he had tested positive for COVID-19. “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” he tweeted at the time (back when he still had a Twitter account). But in his new book, The Chief’s Chief, Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows claims that the then-president first tested positive on September 26, three days before his debate with Joe Biden.
The Guardian reports that “Trump’s positive result on 26 September was a shock to a White House which had just staged a triumphant Rose Garden ceremony for the supreme court nominee Amy Coney Barrett,” which would later be known as a super-spreader event. Trump seemed “a little tired,” but Meadows was “content” that he could travel to a rally in Middletown, Pennsylvania.
Before taking off, however, White House doctor Sean Conley called Meadows and said, “Stop the president from leaving. He just tested positive for COVID.” Trump’s response, Meadows writes, rhymed with, “Oh spit, you’ve gotta be trucking lidding me.”
Meadows says the positive test had been done with an old model kit. He told Trump the test would be repeated with “the Binax system, and that we were hoping the first test was a false positive”.
After “a brief but tense wait,” Meadows called back with news of the negative test. He could “almost hear the collective ‘thank God’ that echoed through the cabin,” he writes. Meadows says Trump took that call as “full permission to press on as if nothing had happened.” His chief of staff, however, “instructed everyone in his immediate circle to treat him as if he was positive” throughout the trip.
On the day of the debate, Trump’s face “had regained its usual light bronze hue, and the gravel in his voice was gone,” but “the dark circles under his eyes had deepened. As we walked into the venue around five o’clock in the evening, I could tell that he was moving more slowly than usual. He walked like he was carrying a little extra weight on his back.” Three days later, he tweeted about testing positive (and very nearly died).
(Via the Guardian)