Trump’s announcement early Friday that he has COVID-19 came only after Bloomberg News reported that Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s closest advisers, became ill during Trump’s Wednesday night rally in Duluth, Minnesota, and had to be quarantined aboard Air Force One on the return flight to Washington. Hicks went on to test positive for coronavirus early on Thursday, though the White House did not report her illness. A number of reporters who were with Hicks and the president on the flight say no one from the White House reached out to them to perform contact tracing or to inform them of their risk of COVID-19. One HuffPost reporter was visibly shaken after learning of Hicks’s positive test result from news reports.
On Thursday afternoon, President Trump flew to his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, for a campaign fundraiser where he delivered a speech while wearing no mask, coming in close contact with dozens of staffers and campaign supporters. The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman reports aides who would normally travel with the president did not go with him to Bedminster because they already knew about Hope Hicks’s positive test result. Among those aides was White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who made no mention of Hicks’s illness — or her recent close contact with Hicks — as she spoke to reporters for 25 minutes from the White House Press Briefing Room podium while wearing no mask.