US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus. The president tweeted the shocking development just before midnight Thursday evening.
“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!.”
Trump’s announcement came hours after he confirmed that Hope Hicks, one of his most trusted and longest-serving aides, had been diagnosed with the virus Thursday.
Hicks began feeling mild symptoms during the plane ride home from a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday evening. The Associated Press reports that Hicks was isolated from other passengers aboard the plane.
Trump has spent much of the year downplaying the threat of a virus that has killed more than 205,000 Americans. And has advocated for the use hydroxychloroquine to treat the virus, despite scientists advising against it. At one point, the US President even suggested that sunlight and disinfectant could be used to treat coronavirus.
And at the recent US presidential elections, Trump openly mocked democratic candidate, Joe Biden for always wearing a mask.
“Every time you see him, he’s got a mask,” Trump said as Biden laughed. “He could be speaking 200 feet away from it. And he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”
Trump’s diagnosis is sure to have a destabilising effect in Washington, raising questions about how far the virus had spread through the highest levels of the US government. And could serve to plunge the country deeper into uncertainty just a month before the presidential election.
There is currently no evidence that Trump is seriously ill. But he is 74-year-old, and so that puts him at a higher risk for serious complications from the virus.