Since news of the coronavirus has broken and captivated the world, causing widespread concern, President Donald Trump has gone from appearing to downplay the seriousness of the spreading virus to appearing to refuse to release intelligence reports warning that the U.S. is underprepared to handle a global pandemic to delivering a televised speech from the Oval Office declaring a national emergency.
Trump’s turn around on the matter likely comes amid confirmed coronavirus cases climbing to well over 2,000 with the death toll rising along with it as well as the dramatic economic effect the crisis has caused, but perhaps Trump is also feeling pressure due to recent reports hitting him a little closer to home.
According to the New York Post, three people who visited Mar-a-Lago—the famed Palm Beach, Fla. resort owned by the president since 1985—last weekend have tested positive for the virus. The reports began coming out after Trump was hosting a Brazilian delegation at his resort on Friday.
Acting Brazil Charge d’Affaires Ambassador Nestor Forster, who sat at Trump’s table during dinner at the resort Saturday night, has tested positive, the Brazilian Embassy said late Friday.
Another Brazilian official — Fabio Wajngarten, communications secretary o President Jair Bolsonaro — had tested positive on Wednesday after posing for a photo with Trump and dining with him on Saturday night.
Now, an unidentified attendee of a fundraising luncheon hosted by Trump at the resort last Sunday has also tested positive, the Post reported.
According to CNBC, Trump’s physician Dr. Sean Conley issued a statement regarding the president’s health status, as he shared a table with one of the guests who tested positive, saying there is no need for the president to be tested or quarantined.
“This evening we learned of another dinner guest, this one sharing the table with the President and White House delegation, who was symptom-free until this morning and has since tested positive for COVID-19,” Conley said adding that Trump’s exposure to Wajngarten was “extremely limited (photograph, handshake)” and that while Trump did share a table with the unnamed guest and “spent more time in closer proximity with the second case, all interactions occurred before any symptom onset.”
“These interactions would be categorized as LOW risk for transmission,” Conley said, citing guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “As such, there is no indication for home quarantine at this time.”
He said he will monitor Trump closely, but that “given the President himself remains without symptoms, testing for COVID-19 is not currently indicated.”
Despite Conley indicating that it was unnecessary, Trump announced during a news conference on Saturday that he had finally been tested for COVID-19 on Friday night, according to the New York Times.
“People were asking, did I take the test,” Trump said adding, in response to questioning, that he would be getting his results in “A day, two days.”
Reporters asked Trump why (the hell) he was shaking hands with attendees of his news conference where he was declaring the coronavirus crisis a national emergency, to which the president responded, “It almost becomes a habit and you get out of that habit.” He then noted that “getting away from shaking hands is a good thing.”
After Trump announced his getting tested, Vice President Mike Pence announced that the administration was extending its European travel ban to the United Kingdom and Ireland. The ban extension goes into effect midnight Monday.