Trump tested positive for COVID-19 days before Biden debate, new book claims

Former President Donald Trump tested positive for Covid-19 on Sept. 26, three days before he debated President Biden and six days before the White House publicly announced he had the virus, former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wrote in his new book. 

The White House announced Trump tested positive for Covid on Oct. 2 and he was taken to The Walter Reed Medical Center for treatment. “Nothing was going to stop [Trump] from going out there,” Meadows wrote. The Guardian obtained a copy of the former chief of staff’s book The Chief’s Chief ahead of its release slated for next week.

Meadows noted that Trump seemed “a little tired” and may have had a “slight cold” before receiving the news of the positive test on Marine One. Trump took another test that came back negative, which allowed him to participate in the debate as both candidates were required “to test negative for the virus within seventy-two hours of the start time.”

Meadows said Trump looked “a little tired” and suspected he maybe had a “slight cold.” But Meadows said he received the news as Trump was on his way to a rally in Pennsylvania. 

“Stop the president from leaving,” White House physician Sean Conley demanded from Meadows as Trump was on Marine One. “He just tested positive for Covid.”

“Mr President,” Meadows recalls saying, “I’ve got some bad news. You’ve tested positive for Covid-19.” The chief of staff then told Trump that the first positive test came from an older model kit, saying they would do another test with “the Binax system, and that we were hoping the first test was a false positive.”

The second test came back negative a short while later. Meadows did not specify the duration between the two tests, per the Guardian. After the tests Meadows said he “instructed everyone in his immediate circle to treat him as if he was positive.” 

“I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks,” Meadows wrote, according to the Guardian, “but I also didn’t want to alarm the public if there was nothing to worry about – which according to the new, much more accurate test, there was not.” By September 29, the day of the debate, Meadows said that Trump only looked “slightly” better. Meadows also claimed that Trump’s team still hadn’t disclosed that first positive test to the debate organizers or the public.  

“His face, for the most part at least, had regained its usual light bronze hue, and the gravel in his voice was gone,” Meadows wrote in the book, according to the Guardian. “But the dark circles under his eyes had deepened. As we walked into the venue around five o’clock in the evening, I could tell that he was moving more slowly than usual. He walked like he was carrying a little extra weight on his back.”

Trump denied having COVID-19 before the first debate.

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