Donald Trump Attended New Jersey Fundraiser While Awaiting Confirmation of Hope Hicks' COVID-19 Test

Questions have been raised about when exactly President Donald Trump knew his adviser Hope Hicks tested positive for COVID-19, after he traveled to a fundraiser in New Jersey on the same day her diagnosis was confirmed.

Trump revealed that he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19 and that the pair will "begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!"

The president tested positive just hours after confirming Hicks, one of his most senior advisers, was found to have the virus.

"Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible," Trump tweeted. "The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!"

Hicks had traveled with Trump on Air Force One to attend Tuesday's presidential debate against Joe Biden in Cleveland, Ohio. She also accompanied Trump on a trip to Minnesota where the president held a large rally.

Hicks is said to have started feeling unwell on the return journey, and isolated herself as a precaution on Air Force One.

Despite Hicks getting tested for the virus, which has killed more than 200,000 people in the U.S., Trump traveled to New Jersey and met with supporters at his Bedminster Golf Club for a fundraising event.

According to CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins, a "small group of officials" were aware that Hicks had tested positive on Thursday morning but still allowed Trump to travel to New Jersey for the fundraiser.

CBS' Weijia Jiang Hicks said Hicks already had a test on Wednesday morning after showing symptoms, but the results were negative and she boarded Air Force One.

"She developed symptoms during the day and received a second test, which came back positive," Jiang tweeted. "The White House knew about this Wed evening but Trump still had a fundraiser Thursday."

CNN's Anderson Cooper speculated that the president "clearly" knew Hicks had tested positive before traveling to New Jersey and accused him of being "criminally negligent" for putting people's health at risk.
"If people were in the White House, there is reporting that a small group of people knew Thursday morning Hope Hicks tested positive. Clearly the president knew it," Cooper said.

"If the president of the United States wasn't immediately tested once Hope Hicks was positive, that is criminally negligent. That would be a huge breach of security.
"If he was tested, he was still allowed to go to New Jersey for a small fundraiser with a smaller staff indicating they knew there could be a problem and Kayleigh McEnany still gave a briefing to reporters."
"So it becomes very important when the president knew, and when the president got tested."

It is unclear if Trump was told of Hicks' positive test by White House aides before he traveled to New Jersey. The news was first reported by Bloomberg, and later confirmed by other outlets, rather than via an official statement from the White House.

Speaking to Fox News' Sean Hannity on Thursday night in the wake of confirmation Hicks had contracted the virus, Trump said he will be getting tested as he spends " a lot of time with Hope."

There are also concerns about when Trump may have caught the virus, with thousands of supporters not wearing masks during his Minnesota rally and his entourage, including members of his family, were seen not wearing face coverings during Tuesday's debate.

The president has often played down the significance of wearing masks in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 and has rarely been seen wearing one despite guidance from his own officials.

Trump even mocked Biden for frequently wearing masks while out in public during the presidential debate.

In a statement, Trump's doctor, Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley, said: "The president and first lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.

"The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our country's greatest medical professionals and institutions.

"Rest assured I expect the president to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering."

The White House has been contacted for comment.

hope hicks
President Donald Trump points to Hope Hicks shortly before making his way to board Marine One on the South Lawn and departing from the White House on March 29, 2018. Hicks was tested after showing symptoms for COVID-19 on the same day Trump traveled to New Jersey for fundraiser event. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty