We’re beginning to get some answers on the President’s condition after news broke overnight that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19.
Trump, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Friday morning, has “mild symptoms.” Meadows also described the President as “energetic.” Melania Trump, on her own Twitter account, also described her symptoms as “mild.”
Those descriptions, meager as they were, followed hours of speculation about the President’s condition after news emerged that White House aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for COVID.
When the President and first lady’s own positive cases were confirmed in the early morning hours Friday, the physician to the President Sean Conley said simply that they were “both well at this time” and that he expected the President to “continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering.” At the time, Melania said that she and her husband were “feeling good.”
According to multiple reports, Trump appeared to show some mild symptoms of illness before he tested positive for the disease.
Some of his closest aides sensed on Wednesday that Trump “was feeling poorly,” and seemed “exhausted,” but they figured it was campaign-related fatigue, Bloomberg News reported. The President has held campaign rallies this week and turned in a belligerent debate performance on Tuesday.
Trump was “lethargic” during a fundraiser Thursday at Bedminster, New Jersey, the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman reported. She separately reported his symptoms were described as “mild” and “cold-like” by her sources.
Trump “appeared tired” but otherwise wasn’t showing severe symptoms on Thursday, CNN reported.
The network also reported that Trump’s voice was “hoarse” at the Bedminster fundraiser, and an unnamed attendee described him as “subdued” at several instances during the event. Attendees chalked that up to campaign exhaustion, CNN added.
Still, the virus will likely limit the President’s public schedule: Early Friday, some of Trump’s aides “were discussing ways for him to be seen by the public” so he could convey his continued leadership in the country, the Times reported. But that doesn’t appear likely. White House staff, the Times said, understood that Trump’s comorbidities made him more susceptible “to a severe bout of the virus.”
Bloomberg News reported that Trump “is able to rest and work in the White House residence.” And just a few hours before his diagnosis was public, he was doing just that, answering questions by telephone in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
The conversation took place a few minutes after 9:30 p.m. ET — around three and a half hours before the White House announced Trump’s diagnosis. Hannity noted that Trump aide Hope Hicks had tested positive during the interview.
“I just heard about this,” Trump said, adding that he and the first lady had just been tested.
“Whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don’t know,” he added.
This post has been updated.