President Trump and first lady Melania test positive for COVID-19

Kathryn Watson
·5 min read

Follow live updates: President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump test positive for COVID-19

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19, the president tweeted early Friday morning. Coming just a month before Election Day, the announcement sent shockwaves across the country, and the world

Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020

Mr. Trump said he and the first lady would begin quarantining immediately. 

The first lady tweeted after the positive tests, saying she and the president were "feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements." 

Other world leaders, such as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have contracted the virus and returned to service, but the president is older than his counterparts who tested positive. Mr. Trump is 74 years old and has at least one underlying condition, placing him at a higher risk for complications, according to Centers for Disease Control guidance, but he was said to be feeling well.

The White House physician issued a memo confirming the positive tests, and saying the president and first lady were doing well and planned to remain at home.

"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," wrote Sean Conley, physician to the president. 

A senior White House official told CBS News that Mr. Trump was "in good spirits," and noted that catching a COVID-19 infection "early helps to mitigate the situation." 

The official said it was "beneficial" that there have not been many people around the president, for contract tracing purposes. 

However, Mr. Trump met supporters in person earlier on Thursday at a fundraising event, and held a rally with supporters in Minnesota on Wednesday night. On Tuesday he was in Cleveland, Ohio, for the first presidential debate. 

When asked if there were others quarantining at the White House after the president and first lady's positive tests, a senior White House official told CBS News that "contact tracing has been done and the appropriate notifications and recommendations have been made." 

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted about an hour after Mr. Trump's announcement, saying that he and second lady Karen Pence, "send their love and prayers" to the president and first lady.

"We join millions across America praying for their full and swift recovery. God bless you President Trump & our wonderful First Lady Melania," Pence wrote.

Although Pence is only 61, the next two officials in the line of succession for the president are octogenarians. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is 80 years old, and Senate President Pro Tempore Chuck Grassley is 87. News of Mr. Trump's positive test result may encourage lawmakers on Capitol Hill to revise their testing regime, as there is currently no regular testing in place for members of Congress.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is fourth in line for the presidency, told reporters that he has not interacted with Mr. Trump since September 15. Pompeo, who is 56, is returning to the U.S. from a trip to Europe on Friday.

News of the Trumps' positive tests came just hours after it was reported that the president's top aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for the coronavirus.  White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has tested negative for the virus, a senior White House official told CBS News.  

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!

— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) October 2, 2020

"The strength of the entire country is with President @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a tweet, adding that Mr. Trump would "continue to put the People first!"

The president was scheduled to campaign in Florida on Friday and then across the western United States next week, but all of his events have been canceled except one — he was still expected to host a phone call on COVID-19 support for vulnerable seniors later on Friday.  

The positive diagnosis could not come at a worse time for Mr. Trump politically, only a month from the election and two weeks from the next scheduled presidential debate against former Vice President Joe Biden. At the debate, Mr. Trump mocked Biden, who is 77, for regularly wearing a mask.

"I don't wear masks like him," the president said. "Every time you see him, he's got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from it. And he shows up with the biggest mask I've ever seen."

CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang reported that administration officials had expressed surprise for weeks that the virus hadn't been detected among White House officials, given Mr. Trump's own unenthusiastic embrace of measures recommended by senior health officials.

The president has often flouting his own administration's guidelines on social distancing, mask-wearing and not gathering in large groups. 

Jiang said that while there was a "blip in time" when masks were mandated for White House staff if they were up and moving around the building, those measures have since "faded away." 

That's of particular concern, Jiang noted, given that the list of people who have come into close personal contact with the president and first lady in recent days "is long, and it is filled with some of the most important people in the Trump administration."

Fin Gomez, Tucker Reals, Caroline Linton and Margaret Brennan contributed to this report. 

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