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Trump tested positive for COVID days before Biden debate, Mark Meadows reveals in new book

The Boston Globe logo The Boston Globe 12/1/2021 Maria Elena Little Endara
Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at an airport in Duluth, Minn., Sept. 30, 2020. © ERIN SCHAFF Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at an airport in Duluth, Minn., Sept. 30, 2020.

In his forthcoming memoir, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows revealed former president Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19 three days before his first debate against Joe Biden, according to a copy of the book obtained by The Guardian.

The report was published Wednesday in the Guardian, the day after the committee chairman of the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection announced Meadows was cooperating with the probe.

In the new book, “The Chief’s Chief” Meadows admitted Trump tested positive for COVID-19 on September 26, 2020, three days before his first debate against Joe Biden in Cleveland on September 29, but the public was not made aware of his positive test result until October 2. White House officials at the time refused to say when Trump first tested positive.

According to The Guardian, Meadows revealed that Trump was aware that candidates needed to test negative for COVID 72 hours before the debate but that “nothing was going to stop [Trump] from going out there.”

Meadows also revealed that Trump received a second test which was negative shortly after the positive one. Despite his positive COVID test, Trump traveled frequently and attended events from September 26 until his results were made public six days later on October 2.

On the day Trump tested positive for COVID, the former president had met with faith leaders at the White House and afterward made an appearance at a Rose Garden ceremony to announce present Amy Coney Barrett as his choice to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Later that evening, Meadows recalled that Trump traveled to a Make America Great Again rally in Pennsylvania despite White House doctor Sean Conley telling him not to go. As reported by The Guardian, Meadows said that while Trump looked “a little tired”, audience members at the rally “would never have known that anything was amiss.”

The following day, Trump held a reception for Gold Star families which he later blamed for possibly infecting him during an appearance on Fox Business.


Video: Report: Trump tested positive for Covid before Biden debate (MSNBC)

Report: Trump tested positive for Covid before Biden debate
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“[They were] within an inch of my face sometimes, they want to hug me and they want to kiss me. And they do. And frankly, I’m not telling them to back up,” Trump said during the interview on October 8.

On Monday, Trump held an event at the Rose Garden to speak about expanding coronavirus testing for schools across the country. Top White House officials were in attendance for the event.

In his memoir, Meadows pointed out the irony of the event given that Trump was speaking about testing strategies that would give “quicker, more accurate readings about whether someone was positive or not.”

Later that day Trump also held an event on the White House lawn with members of Congress to survey a truck produced by Lordstown Motors.

Three days after testing positive, the Trump family and staff flew to Cleveland for the presidential debate with Biden where Trump, first lady Melania Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and several members of his staff were mostly mask-less, according to NBC News.

Chris Wallace of Fox News, who hosted the debate, later said Trump was not tested before the debate because he arrived late and organizers relied on self-reporting from Trump and his staff.

According to The Guardian, Meadows wrote that Trump looked slightly better on debate day and his face “had regained its usual light bronze hue” but he “walked like he was carrying a little extra weight on his back.”

On Wednesday, Trump flew to Minnesota where he held a fund-raising event at a private residence before holding a Make America Great Again rally in Duluth. At the airport, he was greeted by public officials and supporters who were at risk of being infected.

During his trip to Minnesota, Trump was accompanied by White House staff including Hicks, chief of staff Mark Meadows, son-in-law Jared Kushner, adviser Stephen Miller, and others.

That Thursday, Trump held an event at his Bedminster, N.J., golf resort and later delivered remarks at a fund-raiser.

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