Trump has 'minor symptoms' and fell asleep on AF1' but is 'set for TV address to prove he's fine' after COVID diagnosis as it emerges White House kept Hope Hicks' infection SECRET for 24 hours - while Biden gets tested and Pence says he's negative

 President Donald Trump has 'minor' COVID-19 symptoms and was lethargic on Wednesday night as he flew back from a rally in Minnesota, sources say, but is considering an address to the nation on Friday in an effort to prove to the American people is still fit to lead the country despite being diagnosed with the virus and having to quarantine with First Lady Melania. 

The pair tweeted at around 1am on Friday morning that they had both tested positive and were isolating in the White House. They were tested after White House aide Hope Hicks tested positive on Thursday morning, hours after traveling with Trump on Air Force Once back from a rally in Minnesota. 

The diagnoses have rocked the White House and sent shockwaves through the global markets which were already shaky given the global pandemic and political uncertainty in the US ahead of November's election.  

Trump is 74 years old and is medically obese, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from the virus. 

But sources cited by The New York Times on Friday say he is only experiencing mild symptoms. 

On Wednesday evening, he fell asleep on Air Force one on the way back from Minnesota, the source claimed. He was also lethargic on his way back from Bedminster, New Jersey, on Thursday, they claimed. It's unclear if Melania is suffering any symptoms. 

Joe Biden, Trump's 77-year-old opponent who he debated on Tuesday night, is being tested on Friday morning. He wished Trump and Melania a speedy recovery in a tweet on Friday morning.  

Vice President Mike Pence - who would take over from Trump in the event that he becomes incapacitated - has tested negative as has Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin. 

It remains unclear whether any other members of the Trump family have been tested, or what the results of those tests are. 

If Trump becomes seriously ill, there are constitutional procedures that would allow Vice President Mike Pence to assume power temporarily, just weeks before the November 3 election.

But if Trump suffers mild or no symptoms, the president would be able to tout his recovery as evidence that the virus is a less grave threat than many believe.  

Last photo before diagnosis: Donald Trump returns to the White House from his helicopter Marine One on Thursday afternoon, hours before revealing that he and the first lady had tested positive for Covid-19. He had attended a fundraiser in New Jersey

Last photo before diagnosis: Donald Trump returns to the White House from his helicopter Marine One on Thursday afternoon, hours before revealing that he and the first lady had tested positive for Covid-19. He had attended a fundraiser in New Jersey

Hope Hicks hours before her diagnosis: Hope Hicks, far right, is pictured boarding Marine One on Wednesday. The President was also onboard alongside Stephen Miller, second from right, Jared Kushner, center. Her coronavirus diagnosis was announced the next day. They were on their way to Minnesota when this photograph was taken. She started feeling unwell on the way back

Hope Hicks hours before her diagnosis: Hope Hicks, far right, is pictured boarding Marine One on Wednesday. The President was also onboard alongside Stephen Miller, second from right, Jared Kushner, center. Her coronavirus diagnosis was announced the next day. They were on their way to Minnesota when this photograph was taken. She started feeling unwell on the way back 

Hicks tested positive on Thursday after starting to feel unwell on Wednesday night while traveling back from a rally in Minnesota on Air Force One. 


The President was on the plane with her but she kept a safe distance from him and others when she started experiencing symptoms. 

Despite her not feeling well and then testing positive on Thursday, Trump pushed on with campaign events and traveled to Bedminster, New Jersey, for an event. Behind the scenes, White House aides scrambled to surround him with people who reduced his exposure. 

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and social media director Dan Scavino were due to join him in Bedminster but they were replaced because of their close contact with Hicks in the days prior. 

Hicks, 31, is said to have first felt unwell returning from a rally in Minnesota on the president's plane Wednesday evening. 

She was quarantined away from others on the plane and her diagnosis was confirmed Thursday, according to an administration official.

Trump then continued with his schedule Thursday and traveled to and from his Bedminster, New Jersey golf resort to take part in two campaign events. 

He flew back to the White House on Thursday evening, when it was publicly confirmed Hicks had the virus. 

Hours later, Trump and Melania shared their own diagnoses on social media.  

First Lady Melania, 50, tweeted: 'As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19. 

'We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. 

'Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together.' 

Trump was last seen by reporters returning to the White House on Thursday evening. 

The White House had earlier distributed a schedule for Friday that showed he planned to go forward with a fundraiser at his Washington, D.C., hotel and a political rally in Sanford, Florida. That has since been canceled. 

The second presidential debate on October 15 is also in doubt, while there is no word yet on whether 77-year-old Joe Biden is being tested or will have to isolate. 

Biden tweeted on Friday:  'Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery. We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family.' 

The president tweeted the news of his diagnosis shortly before 1am EST Friday, writing: 'Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!' 

Markets reacted badly after Trump's diagnosis today, with stock futures losing 1.9 per cent on the S&P 500, while oil prices also slipped. 

Europe's major stock markets also dived in opening trade on Friday, with London's FTSE 100 and Frankfurt's DAX 30 both shedding more than one per cent.  

'To say this potentially could be a big deal is an understatement,' Holland's Rabobank said in a commentary. 

'Anyway, everything now takes a backseat to the latest incredible twist in this US election campaign.'  

Following last night's news, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted: 'The strength of the entire country is with President @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS. America stands united. 

'Our country stands strong. Your President will continue to put the People first!' 

In a letter to McEnany, White House physician Sean Conley said medics would keep a 'vigilant watch' on the president's health. 

Since 1am on Friday, when the diagnoses emerged; 

  • Trump and Melania went into quarantine at the White House and told the nation they were feeling 'good' 
  • Joe Biden prepared for his own COVID test; Mike Pence and Steve Mnuchin tested negative 
  • The Dow Jones Futures Index sank 1.9 percent and oil prices plummeted, spreading fear among the markets before opening bell 
  • It emerged that White House aides had kept Hope Hicks' diagnosis a secret and replaced people to travel with Trump to an event on Thursday because they feared they'd come into contact with her 
  • Global reaction to the news varied from concern and sympathy among well-wishers like Boris Johnson to cruel taunts from celebrities like Dominic West and conspiracy theories that Trump had made up his diagnosis to get out of the next presidential debate after Tuesday's car-crash effort in Cleveland  

'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,' Dr Conley said. 

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

'Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any future developments.' 

White House physician Dr Sean Conley sent a letter to press secretary Kayleigh McEnany saying that the president and first lady were 'well' and promising to keep a 'vigilant watch'

White House physician Dr Sean Conley sent a letter to press secretary Kayleigh McEnany saying that the president and first lady were 'well' and promising to keep a 'vigilant watch' 

Joe Biden, pictured on the campaign trail in his home state of Delaware on Thursday, spent Tuesday night in fairly close proximity to the president but there was no immediate word on whether he had been tested or was isolating. He will be tested on Friday morning

Joe Biden, pictured on the campaign trail in his home state of Delaware on Thursday, spent Tuesday night in fairly close proximity to the president but there was no immediate word on whether he had been tested or was isolating. He will be tested on Friday morning

NEGATIVE: Both Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary Treasury Steve Mnuchin tested negative on Friday morning
NEGATIVE: Both Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary Treasury Steve Mnuchin tested negative on Friday morning

NEGATIVE: Both Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary Treasury Steve Mnuchin tested negative on Friday morning 

Ivanka Trump turned her back to photographers on Friday morning. It's unclear if she has been tested
Jared Kushner emerged in a mask from his home on Friday to go to work. It's unclear if he has been tested or what the result of any test is

Both Ivanka and Jared Kushner went to work on Friday morning (above). Neither has confirmed if they've had a test since Trump's diagnosis 

Vice President Pence said: 'Karen and I send our love and prayers to our dear friends President Donald Trump and [first lady] Melania Trump. 


'We join millions across America praying for their full and swift recovery.

'God bless you President Trump and our wonderful First Lady Melania.' 

UK prime minister Boris Johnson, who survived a scare with the virus in April, sent his best wishes to the president and first lady on Twitter, saying: 'Hope they both have a speedy recovery from coronavirus.' 

Trump's ally Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, said that 'like millions of Israelis, Sara and I are thinking of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and wish our friends a full and speedy recovery'. 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyeusus, the head of the WHO who has clashed with Trump over the agency's handling of the pandemic, also sent his best wishes to the president for a 'full and speedy recovery'. 

Trump has accused the WHO of being too close to China and announced earlier this year that the US would cut off funding for the Geneva-based body.  

News of Trump's infection has turned attention to Hope Hicks and her travel schedule after the White House aide first felt poorly on the way back from Wednesday's rally in Minnesota. 

Along with the trip to Minnesota, Hicks had been aboard Air Force One to fly to Tuesday night's first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio.  

She was spotted by DailyMail.com getting off Air Force One in the city without her mask. 

On Tuesday, she was seen in a car without her mask with White House senior adviser Stephen Miller and campaign adviser Jason Miller. She is said to have worn a mask when on Marine One with Trump.  

Hicks also traveled with the president to a rally in Pennsylvania last Saturday where she was seen maskless and clapping to the Village People's YMCA.  

Before announcing his positive test, Trump tweeted to say he and Melania were in quarantine while they awaited their results because of Hicks's diagnosis. 

 'Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible!,' the president said. 

Speaking to Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday, the president described the 31-year-old Hicks as a 'very warm person' and suggested she got close to supporters and contracted the virus.

'She's fantastic and she's done a great job,' Trump said. 

WEDNESDAY: The crowd cheers as Air Force One arrives with President Donald Trump at Duluth International Airport on Wednesday. Hicks had joined the president on the trip and felt poorly on the way home, according to reports

WEDNESDAY: The crowd cheers as Air Force One arrives with President Donald Trump at Duluth International Airport on Wednesday. Hicks had joined the president on the trip and felt poorly on the way home, according to reports

WEDNESDAY: President Trump throws hats to supporters after speaking at a campaign rally at Duluth International Airport

WEDNESDAY: President Trump throws hats to supporters after speaking at a campaign rally at Duluth International Airport


'But it's very, very hard when you are with people from the military and from law enforcement and they come over to you and they, they want to hug you and they want to kiss you, because we really have done a good job for them.'

'And you get close and things happen,' the president added. 

Trump said he was 'surprised' to hear that Hicks, who previously served as White House communications director and re-joined the administration this year ahead of the election, tested positive. 

'She wears a mask a lot, but she tested positive,' the president said.

Typically, according to the CDC, a person develops symptoms five days after being infected, but symptoms can appear as early as two days after infection or as late as 14 days after infection, and the time range can vary.  

There was no immediate comment from Joe Biden's campaign on whether the former vice president had been tested since appearing at Tuesday's debate with Trump.

Biden, 77, stood some distance apart from the president but there were plenty of raised voices in the bad-tempered debate. The CDC warns that shouting can spread the disease. 

CNN's medical correspondent Dr Sanjay Gupta said Biden should be 'immediately tested', warning that 'if you are indoors, you could think of the virus like smoke'.  

All the attendees at the Cleveland debate were tested beforehand, while the former vice president's wife Jill Biden kept her mask on throughout, unlike members of the Trump family. 

The second debate on October 15 is now in jeopardy. Trump could be out of quarantine in 10 days if he shows no symptoms, but if he develops symptoms he would have to isolate for longer. 

In addition, the October 7 vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris also appears in doubt, because Pence will have to isolate if he has been in contact with the president. 

On Thursday evening, before Trump revealed he had tested positive, Biden berated the president for 'doing everything he can to distract' from his 'failed Covid-19 response'. 

In pre-taped remarks to the Al Smith charity dinner, Trump told guests on Thursday night that 'the end of the pandemic is in sight'. 

'Through advances in treatment, we have reduced the fatality rate by 85 percent since just April. We are on track to develop and distribute a vaccine before the end of the year, and maybe substantially before,' Trump claimed. 

Biden has held a consistent lead in the polls, prompting Trump into an ever-more aggressive schedule of campaign rallies around the country. 

Trump's Florida trip is off today and he looks certain to have to cancel a trip scheduled for this weekend in Wisconsin, another battleground, where Biden has held a small but persistent lead. Trump had also been expected to travel frequently next week, including longer distances to western states. 

TUESDAY: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump wave before boarding Air Force One to travel to the first presidential debate in Cleveland. The president says he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for Covid-19

TUESDAY: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump wave before boarding Air Force One to travel to the first presidential debate in Cleveland. The president says he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for Covid-19

Members of the Trump family including (from left) Eric, Ivanka, Tiffany and Donald Jr took their masks off during the debate in Cleveland on Tuesday night

TUESDAY: Members of the Trump family including (from left) Eric, Ivanka, Tiffany and Donald Jr took their masks off during the debate in Cleveland on Tuesday night 

TUESDAY: Melania Trump had discarded her mask by the time she joined her husband Donald on stage following a rancorous first debate of the 2020 campaign

TUESDAY: Melania Trump had discarded her mask by the time she joined her husband Donald on stage following a rancorous first debate of the 2020 campaign 

TUESDAY: Hope Hicks was spotted getting off Air Force One in Cleveland on Tuesday without her mask ahead of the first presidential debate in the city

TUESDAY: Hope Hicks was spotted getting off Air Force One in Cleveland on Tuesday without her mask ahead of the first presidential debate in the city 

TUESDAY: Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle walk across the tarmac to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base before flying to Cleveland for the first presidential debate Tuesday alongside Hicks

TUESDAY: Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle walk across the tarmac to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base before flying to Cleveland for the first presidential debate Tuesday alongside Hicks 


Hicks becomes the latest in Trump's circle to contract the virus after National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien and White House coronavirus task force spokeswoman Katie Miller.  

Hicks is one of the president's most trusted and longest-serving aides, having worked as spokesperson for his 2016 campaign. She originally served as White House as communications director, and re-joined the administration this year as an adviser ahead of the election.  

White House spokesman Judd Deere had earlier said: 'The president takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously.

'White House Operations collaborates with the physician to the President and the White House Military Office to ensure all plans and procedures incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting Covid-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible, both on complex and when the president is traveling.'

Deere did not mention Hicks by name.  

Multiple White House staffers have tested positive for the virus, including Pence's press secretary Katie Miller, national security adviser Robert O'Brien, and one of the president's personal valets. 

Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is dating Trump's oldest son, Donald Trump J., tested positive in South Dakota before an Independence Day fireworks show at Mount Rushmore. 

After earlier cases close to the president, the White House instituted a daily testing regimen for the president's senior aides.  

On May 11, a memo to the president's staff told them to wear face coverings, and discouraged unnecessary visits from other parts of the White House complex to the West Wing area.

'Common sense has finally prevailed,' one senior administration official said at the time.  

It is not known why the president's test took so long to come back or whether he was tested Wednesday evening when Hicks first began displaying symptoms.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people who have been in close contact with a virus patient quarantine for 14 days, White House staffers are considered essential workers. 

CDC's guidelines for exposed essential workers allows them to return to work if they take precautions, including taking their temperature before going into work, wearing a mask at all times and practicing social distancing.

Trump, the White House and his campaign have flouted other CDC guidelines and recommendations from public health officials, and largely refused to wear masks or practice social distancing.  

Instead, Trump has continued to hold campaign rallies that draw thousands of supporters. 

By contrast, Biden is running a deliberately low-key campaign with social distancing at most events, no large gatherings, and conspicuous use of his mask. 

Still, Trump has consistently played down concerns about being personally vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. 'I felt no vulnerability whatsoever,' he told reporters back in May. 

Trump mocked Biden at Tuesday's debate for wearing 'the biggest mask I've ever seen', while pulling a face covering out of his pocket and saying he wears one when needed. 

The president had previously mocked Biden for wearing a mask in May, saying it was 'very unusual' to wear a mask outside and accusing a reporter of trying to be 'politically correct' by wearing one himself.  

Biden called Trump a 'fool' in response, saying in an interview that 'this macho stuff' was costing lives.  

Trump previously said he 'did not want to give the press the pleasure' of seeing him with a mask, while saying he had worn one away from the cameras. 

He added that he could not see himself greeting 'presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens' while wearing a mask. 

But the president finally changed his tone in July, saying it was 'patriotic' to wear a mask. 

Melania Trump, by contrast, had let Americans see her in a face mask as long ago as April while urging people to take the health regulations 'seriously'. 

'As the CDC studies the spread of Covid-19, they recommend people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when social distancing can be hard to do,' Melania said on April 9. 

Trump also sparked outrage and ridicule after suggesting in April that people could inject themselves with disinfectant to fend off the virus, which would be extremely dangerous.  

'Then I see the disinfectant which knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside for almost a cleaning? Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it'd be interesting to check that,' he said. 

SATURDAY: Trump announces his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett (right), who subsequently had unmasked meetings with Republican senators during the week

SATURDAY: Trump announces his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett (right), who subsequently had unmasked meetings with Republican senators during the week 

SATURDAY: From left, White House director of social media Dan Scavino, Counselor to the President Hope Hicks, special assistant to the President and White House trip director William Russell, and director of the White House personnel John McEntee listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Harrisburg International Airport, Saturday

SATURDAY: From left, White House director of social media Dan Scavino, Counselor to the President Hope Hicks, special assistant to the President and White House trip director William Russell, and director of the White House personnel John McEntee listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Harrisburg International Airport, Saturday

SEPTEMBER 14: Hope Hicks sitting at close quarters with Donald Trump aboard Marine One, although wearing a mask

SEPTEMBER 14: Hope Hicks sitting at close quarters with Donald Trump aboard Marine One, although wearing a mask 


Early in the pandemic, Trump played down the dangers - saying in January that 'we have it totally under control' and in February that 'it's going to disappear'.  

Discussing the virus in an interview with Bob Woodward on March 19, Trump admitted that 'I always wanted to play it down' - despite having previously told Woodward that the disease was 'deadly stuff'. 

Those comments sparked anger when they were revealed last month, with Biden accusing Trump of a 'life and death betrayal'.  

A FiveThirtyEight polling average currently shows 56.5 per cent of Americans disapproving of Trump's handling of the pandemic, compared to 40.4 per cent who approve. 

Trump was in positive territory until early April, but his ratings gradually fell as the world's richest country suffered the deadliest outbreak on the planet.

The virus has killed more than 200,000 Americans and infected more than 7 million nationwide.  

While there is currently no evidence that Trump is seriously ill, the positive test also raises questions about what would happen if he were to become incapacitated due to illness. 

The Constitution's 25th Amendment spells out the procedures under which a president can declare themselves 'unable to discharge the powers and duties' of the presidency. 

If he were to make that call, Trump would transmit a written note to the Senate president pro tempore, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Pence would serve as acting president until Trump transmitted 'a written declaration to the contrary.'

This has happened occasionally, with Ronald Reagan briefly putting George H.W. Bush in charge during surgery in 1985, before George W. Bush temporarily transferred powers to Dick Cheney during colonoscopies in 2002 and 2007. 

These were all brief, scheduled transfers of power and came nowhere near a re-election campaign.  

There is also a second, never-used option: the vice president and a majority of either the Cabinet or another body established by law, can declare the president unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, in which case Pence would 'immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President' until Trump could provide a written declaration to the contrary.

Trump's infection has also led to suggestions that the election could be delayed, but this is highly unlikely because voting is already underway. 

While the Constitution does not specify an election date, moving the poll would require an act of Congress including support from the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. 

And regardless of the election date, Trump's term ends on January 20. 

If no president or vice president is elected by then, others in the line of succession would take over - although Pelosi might also be without a job if the House elections were delayed too. 

Trump joins UK prime minister Boris Johnson and Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro as the most high-profile leaders to contract the disease. 

Johnson, who was 55 at the time, spent an alarming three nights in intensive care at a London hospital before eventually recovering, while 65-year-old Bolsonaro rode out the infection at home.   

When Johnson was ill, UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab deputised for him although the nature of his constitutional powers was not fully clear. 

The White House offered to supply medicine for Johnson's treatment, as did the Chinese government, but London said the PM was receiving the best possible care from Britain's National Health Service.  

Johnson has blamed his experience on being overweight, and his scare has prompted him to launch a crackdown on unhealthy eating. 

Bolsonaro, a former army captain who has described the virus as a 'little flu', had long played down the risks and predicted that he would easily survive an infection with Covid-19. 

Germany's Angela Merkel, 66, self-isolated after a doctor who gave her a jab tested positive, and Canada's Justin Trudeau, 48, worked from home after his wife fell ill.  

Trump has 'minor symptoms' and fell asleep on AF1' but is 'set for TV address to prove he's fine' after COVID diagnosis as it emerges White House kept Hope Hicks' infection SECRET for 24 hours - while Biden gets tested and Pence says he's negative Trump has 'minor symptoms' and fell asleep on AF1' but is 'set for TV address to prove he's fine' after COVID diagnosis as it emerges White House kept Hope Hicks' infection SECRET for 24 hours - while Biden gets tested and Pence says he's negative Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 06:59 Rating: 5

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