- President Donald Trump did not disclose that his initial COVID-19 test was positive when he was interviewed by Fox News’ Sean Hannity last Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- According to the outlet, Trump had taken two tests: a preliminary one which quickly came back positive, and a second one which took more time.
- Trump spoke to 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.”
- Just 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 about Trump’s conditions from official sources.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
President Donald Trump made no mention of a preliminary positive COVID-19 test when he gave Fox News an interview on his condition, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.
The omission came in a phone-in conversation with host Sean Hannity — a close ally — whom Trump instead told that he was still waiting to find out.
Hannity asked Trump about his health after White House adviser Hope Hicks 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, Trump had already taken a rapid-results test and knew that the results were positive.
The outlet suggested that Trump chose to omit that result, and instead appears to have referred to a more reliable lab test, which did indeed take more time.
At about 1am ET on Friday, after the second test, Trump tweeted that he had tested positive.
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020
A White House official told the publication that it was usual protocol at the White House to conduct a more reliable second test.
The official said the second test involves screening a specimen from deeper inside the nasal passage, and is taken only after a rapid-result test comes 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 publication.
Trump’s interview with Hannity helped pushed back a damaging news cycle which began when Trump confirmed his diagnosis hours later.
The report will likely add to skepticism 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 the Walter Reed medical center, where the president is being treated, have given optimistic assessments of the president’s condition.
However, he is being treated with the drug dexamethasone, 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 discharging his official duties and on the road to recovery, the White House has released pictures which 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 criticized as a stunt that could endanger the lives of the Secret Service personnel in the vehicle with him.