President Donald Trump returns to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, DC, on October 5, 2020.Win McNamee/Getty Images
Kayleigh McEnany writes that she was told Donald Trump had tested positive for COVID-19 while he was on live TV.
The Wall Street Journal reported last year that Trump was informed of his positive rapid test before he went on TV.
Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he and the first lady were awaiting their test results.
Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany writes in her new memoir that she found out former President Donald Trump had tested positive for COVID-19 while Trump was being interviewed live on Fox News on October 1, 2020.
McEnany was informed on the phone by an aide to Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, that Trump’s rapid test had come back positive and was waiting for results from a PCR test to make sure he hadn’t received a false positive. McEnany says she asked the aide whether Trump was aware of his positive test result, but that the aide didn’t know.
“Was I learning this information before President Trump?” she says she wondered to herself, adding that she was in “total and complete disbelief.”
Trump already knew that he’d received a positive rapid test before he went on Fox News, The Wall Street Journal reported on October 4, 2020. The president confirmed during his interview with Sean Hannity that evening that his close aide, Hope Hicks, had been infected with the virus and that he was waiting for his own test results. Trump didn’t say whether he was awaiting the results of the rapid or PCR test.
“I just went out for a test. They just did it. It’ll come back later, I guess. And the first lady also, because we spend a lot of time with Hope, and others,” he told Hannity, saying at another point, “Whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don’t know … We’ll see what happens. Who knows?”
A few hours later, Trump announced via tweet that he and then-First Lady Melania Trump were both infected with the virus.
But Meadows, Trump’s fourth and last chief of staff, writes in his forthcoming memoir that Trump tested positive for COVID-19 on September 26, three days before his first presidential debate against Joe Biden, which was held indoors, The Guardian reported on Wednesday. Meadows says that Trump subsequently tested negative prior to the debate.
Fox News host Chris Wallace said Trump arrived too late at the first presidential debate to be tested for COVID-19 at the venue. The debate hosts instead relied on an honor system.
Trump called Meadows’ version of the events “fake news” and insisted that he never had COVID-19 before the first debate. “The story of me having COVID prior to, or during, the first debate is Fake News,” Trump wrote in a statement. “In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID prior to the debate.”
A spokesperson for Trump didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
McEnany writes in “For Such a Time as This: My Faith Journey through the White House and Beyond,” that she reassured Trump during a phone call that he was a “victor” and America would rally around him as they awaited the results of his PCR test.
“‘You will rise above this, and America will rise with you,'” McEnany says she told Trump. “‘You are a victor.'”
She added, “America is going to rally around you,” and “We will overcome.”
The then 32-year-old press secretary writes that she was “genuinely scared” about what would become of Trump and the country after the diagnosis. McEnany added that she was concerned for Trump as “a boss and friend whom I grew to know and love.”
“To me, this was not just the president of the United States testing positive and being transported to a hospital,” she writes.
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