President Donald Trump had already been notified he tested positive for coronavirus by the time he appeared on Fox News for an interview Thursday night, but he didn’t disclose that at the time, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal.
During an interview with Sean Hannity, Trump merely confirmed one of his aides, Hope Hicks, had been diagnosed with coronavirus. He said he wouldn’t receive his results until later that night or the following morning. WSJ reports Trump had already received a positive coronavirus test by the time he appeared on Hannity’s show, and the positive test he announced early Friday morning was the second he’d taken.
Trump was admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center on Friday to receive treatment for coronavirus symptoms and endured what White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows called a “very concerning” period. In the time since, his administration has tried to patch together a timeline of his infection that doesn’t depict Trump wantonly spreading a potentially deadly disease at events he attended ― frequently maskless ― throughout the week, including the presidential debate on Tuesday. The desperate, clumsy effort by Trump administration officials to spin a story favorable to Trump has revealed a cover-up in realtime and added more questions to a national discussion about the president’s health.
On Sunday, the physician in charge of Trump’s treatment, Dr. Sean Conley, admitted he wasn’t transparent with reporters on Saturday when he refused to answer whether Trump needed supplemental oxygen. Conley dodged the question multiple times when asked on Saturday, and his excuse on Sunday was that he was “trying to reflect the upbeat attitude of the team [and] the president over the course of his illness.”
Trump is among several Republicans who have announced positive coronavirus diagnoses this weekend. A number of infected Republicans attended a large ceremony Trump hosted in the Rose Garden on Sept. 26 to announce his nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court Justice who died days earlier.
As news surrounding his infection and his precarious health condition has spread, Trump has tried to convey an image of vitality.
In viral images shared by the White House on Twitter, Trump is seen sitting at a table in Walter Reed Medical Center, purportedly working.
Social media users noted it looks as though the photo is staged, with the president signing a blank sheet of paper.
Trump, who is still believed to be infected, left Walter Reed Medical Center briefly in a motorcade Sunday to wave at some of his supporters outside.