- President Donald Trump had already tested positive for the coronavirus when he was interviewed by Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- According to the outlet, Trump had taken two tests: a rapid one that quickly came back positive and a second one that took more time.
- Trump apparently spoke with Hannity after the first result but before the second. But he did not mention the early test, instead saying: “I’ll get my test back either tonight or tomorrow morning.”
- Soon after midnight, following the second test, Trump announced on Twitter that he had tested positive.
- The White House is under scrutiny for misleading and at times contradictory statements from official sources about Trump’s condition.
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President Donald Trump had already tested positive for the coronavirus when he gave Fox News an interview on his condition on Thursday night, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.
He omitted that information during the phone conversation with the host Sean Hannity â€” a close ally â€” instead saying he was still waiting to find out results.
Hannity asked Trump about his health after Bloomberg first reported that the White House advisor Hope Hicks had tested positive.
“I’ll get my test back either tonight or tomorrow morning,” the president said during the interview. “But, you know I spend a lot of time with Hope and so does the first lady.”
But according to The Journal and CBS News, Trump had already taken a rapid-results test and knew the result was positive.
The Journal suggested that Trump chose to omit that result and instead appeared to refer to a more reliable lab test, which did indeed take more time.
At about 1 a.m. ET on Friday, after the second test, Trump tweeted that he had tested positive.
A White House official told the publication it was usual protocol at the White House to conduct a more reliable second test.
The official said the second test involved screening a specimen from deeper inside the nasal passage and â€” per White House policy â€” was taken only after a rapid-result test came out positive.
After Trump’s diagnosis, a series of top Republicans also tested positive, and Trump reportedly told one aide who tested positive to conceal the result.
“Don’t tell anyone,” Trump said, a person familiar with the conversation told The Journal.
Trump’s interview with Hannity helped push back a damaging news cycle that was ignited when Trump confirmed his diagnosis hours later.
The news will most likely add to scepticism about official statements from the White House about Trump’s condition.
Officials over the weekend gave at times contradictory assessments of the president’s health.
White House officials and medics at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre, where the president is being treated, have given optimistic assessments of the president’s condition.
He is being treated with the drug dexamethasone, however, which is generally reserved for patients with more severe infections.
Reports have suggested that many of Trump’s own officials remain in the dark as to his true condition.
In an effort to portray Trump as capable of carrying out his official duties and on the road to recovery, the White House has released pictures that appeared to show Trump hard at work in Walter Reed, which critics say appear to be staged.
The president also drove past supporters gathered outside the hospital on Sunday and waved at them through the window, in what a senior medic at Walter Reed criticised as a stunt that could endanger the lives of the Secret Service personnel in the vehicle with him.