White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Washington.Alex Brandon/AP
Trump hailed his ex-chief of staff’s memoir as an “incredible” present in October.
He’s now calling it “fake news” after Meadows revealed Trump tested positive for COVID in September 2020.Advertisement
Trump tested positive and then negative on September 26, three days before a presidential debate.
In October, former President Donald Trump hailed his fourth and final chief of staff Mark Meadows’ forthcoming book as an “incredible” present for those who want to learn about “politics” and “truth.” He’s now throwing it under the bus as “fake news.”
“The Chief’s Chief would make an incredible Christmas present, and with United States supply lines totally dead, and with thousands of ships having no way of unloading because of incompetent leadership, you will have no other thing you can buy anyway,” Trump wrote in a statement promoting the book on October 13. “Seriously, it’s a fantastic book, and Mark Meadows and his wonderful wife Debbie are great people.”
Meadows did indeed reveal at least one very unwelcome truth bomb: that Trump tested positive for COVID-19 on September 26, three days before his first presidential debate against Joe Biden.
“The story of me having COVID prior to, or during, the first debate is Fake News. In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID prior to the debate,” Trump said in a Wednesday morning statement in response to a story about the book from the Guardian.
Trump saying that “a test revealed” he did not have COVID-19 before the debate does not disprove Meadows’ account of him initially testing positive.
The ex-chief of staff recounts in his book that he thought Trump looked “a little tired” and maybe had a mild cold on September 26th, but got the test result as Trump was en route to a rally in Middletown, Pennsylvania,
“Stop the president from leaving,” White House physician Sean Conley relayed to Meadows as Trump was on Marine One. “He just tested positive for Covid.”
“Mr President,” Meadows recalls saying, “I’ve got some bad news. You’ve tested positive for Covid-19.”
Meadows, an Evangelical Christian who does not curse, sums up Trump’s response as rhyming with “‘Oh spit, you’ve gotta be trucking lidding me,'” according to the Guardian.
Trump, according to Meadows, took a second test on the plane that came back negative. It’s unclear how much time passed between the two tests.
The initial positive result was never disclosed to the organizers of the September 29 debate in Cleveland, Ohio, which required participants to test negative 72 hours beforehand, or to the public.
While Trump felt like he could return to business as usual and move on, Meadows said he “instructed everyone in his immediate circle to treat him as if he was positive.”
“I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks,” Meadows wrote, according to the Guardian, “but I also didn’t want to alarm the public if there was nothing to worry about – which according to the new, much more accurate test, there was not.”
On October 1, just a few days later, the former president publicly announced that he, along with former First Lady Melania Trump, tested positive for COVID-19.
Their infections were part of a larger outbreak among White House staff and others apparently stemming from a Rose Garden and White House celebration for then-Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
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