The president’s public program for Friday, which aired shortly after his appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity” earlier in the afternoon, showed he was ready to attend a fundraiser at his hotel in Washington and travel to Sanford, Florida, for a campaign.
“Hope Hicks, who has worked so hard without even taking a short break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Awesome! The First Lady and I are awaiting our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process. “Trump wrote on Twitter on Thursday night.
Hicks has traveled with the President several times recently, including in Cleveland on Tuesday, and appeared to be boarding the Marine One, along with several other close aides to the President – Jared Kushner, Dan Scavino and Nicholas Luna – none of whom wore masks on Wednesday as Trump headed to a campaign in Minnesota.
“It simply came to our notice then. Try it positively. She is a hard worker. Lots of masks, wearing masks, but tested positive. Then I just came out with a test. I will see – you know, because we spent a lot of time – and the first lady also came out with a test. So whether we quarantine it or not, I do not know, “Trump said during a Fox News appearance on” Hannity. “
He added, “I just went for a test and we’ll see what happens, I mean, who knows. … I spent a lot of time with Hope and so does the first lady, and she’s awesome.”
The positive test of the Hicks news comes amid the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to blatantly ignore science and public health best practices during the pandemic, with West Wing staff actively avoiding masks and the President defying recommendations from his own group of Koranas, proceeding with a busy program full of campaign rallies. Trump and his key aides have shown little interest in changing the practices of his staff to meet the needs of the moment.
Trump, in an interview with Fox News, speculated that Hicks could be infected with the virus from an interaction with a supporter.
“She is a very warm person. She has a difficult time when the soldiers and law enforcement come to her, you know, she wants to treat them wonderfully, do not say, ‘Stay away, I can not approach you. “It is a very serious disease,” he said.
A source close to Hicks told CNN he was experiencing symptoms and returned to Washington. A source familiar with Hicks’ s symptoms describes it as pain and feels very bad. CNN contacted Hicks for comment.
“The president takes the health and safety of himself and all those who work to support him and the American people very seriously,” White House spokesman Judd Deere told CNN when asked about the level of contact between of Hicks and Trump.
The White House made no mention of Hicks’ name, nor did it confirm that he had tested positive.
“White House Operations work with the Physician in the President and in the White House Military Office to ensure that all plans and procedures incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices to limit COVID-19 exposure as much as possible. both in complex and when the President travels., “Deere added.
Some White House officials who were nearby were informed of the positive results of the tests today, an official said.
Long considered a stabilizing force in a boss who likes chaos, Hicks joined the Trump Organization, which works in public relations with Ivanka Trump, and moved to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign early in the race. He was one of the few aides who followed him from his political background to the White House.
Hicks maintained close ties not only with the president but also with members of his family, including White House adviser Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kouchner. He previously served as the White House Communications Director.
Hicks’ positive test underscores the unique challenge facing White House officials as they try to keep the pandemic out of the West Wing as the president pushes for the country to reopen.
Trump had previously expressed concern that coronavirus-assisted aides would underestimate his message that the outbreak was disappearing and that states should speed up reopening, according to a spokesman.
The White House has since worked hard to protect Trump and Vice President Mike Pence from the outbreak, even when traveling to states where affairs are on the rise.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany has previously described Trump as “the most tested man in America,” who is not in danger of spreading the virus to others. However, Trump refuted this claim a few hours later, saying he did not know for a moment that he had received more than one coronavirus test in one day.
“I do not know of more than one,” Trump told a reporter who asked why he was being tested more than once a day. “I probably do an average test every two days, three days and I don’t know I got two in one day, but I could see it happening.”
This story has been updated with additional developments on Thursday night and Friday morning.
CNN’s Paul LeBlanc contributed to this report.