President Donald Trump announced by tweet in the early hours of Oct. 2 that he and Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying its danger and of functioning in a business-as-usual manner.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Friday that while the President is in “good spirits,” he does have mild symptoms. Trump is expected to be quarantining along with the First Lady. The middle-of-the-night announcement prompted close aides and other public figures to get tested themselves, but the question of who else they may have come into contact with looms large.
Meadows told reporters on Friday that the “core” White House team continues to get daily testing, confirming that White House advisers Jared Kushner, Dan Scavino and himself all tested negative. (Meadows was not wearing a mask when he spoke to press.) One reporter who was part of the White House press pool on Friday and a White House staffer who sits in the West Wing also tested positive for COVID.
But the President’s daily activities require a large entourage, including staffers, press, security, and military. The President also regularly interacts with supporters and other participants at campaign and White House events, where he often eschews wearing a mask.
Trump’s maintaining a busy traveling schedule of public events in the middle of the pandemic has raised concerns for months, both over worries that the President of the United States could contract the coronavirus himself, and because of the large number of people he could put at risk along the way if he did. The White House itself was always a potential virus hotspot, where staffers, visitors, and press come in close contact with each other each day and where the social distancing measures have been inconsistent at best.
Thursday, Oct. 1: Trump travels to New Jersey for campaign events
The President travelled from the White House to Joint Base Andrews via the Marine One helicopter.
The President travelled from Joint Base Andrews to Morristown, New Jersey, via Air Force One with White House aides Judd Deere and John McEntee.
The President travelled from Morristown Municipal Airport to Bedminster, New Jersey via Marine One. There, the President held a roundtable with supporters and a fundraiser at the Trump national golf club that were closed to press. He was expected to deliver remarks.
Wednesday, Sept. 30: Trump travels to Minnesota for campaign events
The President traveled from the White House to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland via Marine One with his advisers Dan Scavino, Jared Kushner, Hope Hicks, and Stephen Miller. Prior to boarding, he spoke with press.
At Joint Base Andrews he boarded Air Force One, which took him to Minneapolis. He landed at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, where he interacted briefly with greeters, who were waiting to meet him at the bottom of the plane steps. According to the White House they were the Majority Leader of the Minnesota Senate Senator Paul Gazelka and his wife, Maralee Gazelka, Minority Leader of the Minnesota House Kurt Daudt, Republican Senate candidate Jason Lewis, Adjunct General of the Minnesota National Guard Shawn Manke, Col. James Cleet, and Chief Master Sargent Mark Legvold.
Several dozen supporters were also waiting behind barricades, and the President briefly spoke with them, separated by a 10-foot buffer. From the airport, he traveled via motorcade to Shorewood, a Minneapolis suburb.
In Shorewood, he attended a fundraiser for his campaign and the Republican National Committee at a private residence on the South shore of Lake Minnetonka linked to Martin Davis, a prominent GOP donor. It is unclear who attended this event.
Tuesday, Sept. 29: Trump travels to Ohio to participate in the Presidential debate
Trump and First Lady Melania Trump greeted cheering supporters on the South Lawn — where Trump gave supporters a fist bump — before boarding Marine One. White House adviser Dan Scavino was among the staffers who also boarded. They departed for Joint Base Andrews.
There, Trump and the First Lady boarded Air Force One. Among those traveling on the plane were Donald Trump Jr., Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Lara Trump, Eric Trump, Tiffany Trump, senior adviser Kim Guilfoyle, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Bill Stepien, Hope Hicks, Jim Jordan, Ivanka Trump, and Alice Johnson, who Trump pardoned.
It’s unclear how closely he sat next to or if he interacted with all those people while on the flight, which included some of the President’s guests for the first presidential debate, but the White House that day said Trump interacted with Ohio state Rep. Bernadine Kent, James Whitaker, and Bob Paduchik aboard the plane.
The President arrived at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. He then traveled via motorcade to the debate venue, the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion, before taking the motorcade to the InterContinental Suites Hotel Cleveland. Hope Hicks, Bill Stepien and Dan Scavino were among those who traveled in one of the motorcade vans.
Monday, September 28: At the White House
Trump did not travel on Monday, but he interacted with several people at the White House. On the South Lawn, he inspected an electric pickup truck from Ohio. White House adviser Peter Navarro and Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio were among those present. Also in attendance were Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, Steve Burns, the CEO of Lordstown Motors, and Rich Schmidt and Michael Fabian, Lordstown Motors employees. Trump also interacted with press.
The White House also held a Rose garden event where the President gave an update on coronavirus testing. In addition to Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Dr. Scott Atlas, Admiral Brett Giroir, and Governor of Mississippi Tate Reeves also spoke at the event.
Seated in the front row were Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma, Secretary Betsy DeVos, and HHS Secretary Alex Azar.