The White House has supplied the New Jersey Department of Health with the names of more than 200 individuals who attended a fundraiser last week just hours before President Trump announced that he had contracted COVID-19.
The state’s Department of Health tweeted on Sunday that it had received the names of at least 206 people who attended the fundraiser for the president’s reelection campaign at the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, N.J. on Thursday.
Just hours after the even ended, the president announced on Twitter that he and First Lady Melania Trump were infected with the virus that has left more than 209,000 people in the United States, according to statistic compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
No one knows how, when or from whom Trump became infected. Nor is it established who, if anyone, has contracted the disease from him. But to retrace some of his steps over the last week is to see risk at multiple turns and an abundance of opportunity for infection.
On Thursday morning, Trump’s senior counselor Hope Hicks tested positive for the virus.
The results came not long before the president was set to lift off in Marine One for the fundraiser at his golf club.
Hicks' diagnosis affirmed that Trump had been in close proximity to someone infected with the virus. That's when you should quarantine, according to public-health guidelines. But Trump went ahead with the trip. Not only that, but others who had also been around Hicks were not immediately told about her positive test.
The White House worked furiously to swap out staff who had been in close contact with Hicks and replace them with others. Spokesman Judd Deere was swapped in at the last minute, without being told why. White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany did not make the trip. White House officials said they began learning of Hicks’ positive test after Trump boarded Marine One to start his journey to New Jersey.
Comedian Joe Piscopo attended the outdoor Bedminster fundraiser and told The Associated Press by phone that “it was meticulously run, from the Secret Service to COVID testing to masking.”
“I’ve never seen him more on top of his game — warm, funny, vulnerable,” Piscopo said. “Like we say in New Jersey, he’s an animal. He’s going to be fine, and I mean that in a good way.”
Charlie Kolean, 25, of Dallas also attended the event, and described getting a nasal swab and negative results in 15 minutes, after which he joined a cocktail party of some 60 people. Staff at the event were masked but the guests weren't, he told AP. VIPs had their pictures taken with Trump in another room, standing six feet from the president with no handshakes.
Hours after the Bedminster fund-raiser, Trump publicly confirmed Hicks had tested positive and told Fox News he and his wife had been tested and were prepared to quarantine if necessary.
At 12:54 a.m., Trump tweeted: “Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” Flotus refers to Melania Trump, the first lady, who also has COVID-19.
Before the day was out, Trump was admitted to a military hospital for a stay expected to last at least several days, in what White House officials initially said was merely a precaution. But his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said Saturday that Trump went though a “very concerning” period Friday and it was revealed that he had been given supplementary oxygen at the White House Friday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.