Hope Hicks returns to Air Force One two weeks after testing positive for coronavirus

Several aides traveling with president, like him, did not wear masks as they left the White House

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
Thursday 15 October 2020 18:41
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Hope Hicks, the first among Donald Trump’s inner circle to test positive for coronavirus, is back.

The two-time White House aide and longtime presidential confidant was with Mr Trump on Thursday afternoon as he departed the White House for a campaign trip to battleground states North Carolina and Florida. Like several other aides on the trip, she walked out of the White House with no mask or face covering. C-SPAN video of the Greenville airport hosting the rally showed most of the president’s supporters in range of a camera also maskless. 

Ms Hicks tested positive for the respiratory disease two weeks ago, with the president following with his own positive test late at night on 4 October. She had tested positive just hours before the president was scheduled to fly to his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, for a big-dollar fundraiser surrounded by 200 donors, aides, Secret Service agents, and event staff.

Mr Trump decided to go despite one of his closest aides, with whom he meets several times a day, having the highly contagious virus. State officials said this week they have no evidence the fundraiser became a “super-spreader event,” meaning there is no cluster of positive cases from people who attended.

The White House said earlier this month that Ms Hicks had felt poorly, but was working from home. She has not been seen at the executive mansion or in Mr Trump’s traveling party since. He resumed campaigning on Monday.

He starts his Thursday campaigning in North Carolina, where polls suggests a dead heat. He ends with an 8 p.m. town hall hosted by NBC News in Miami, Florida, where an average of several polls have Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leading by around 4 points. Mr Trump won both states in 2016.

"We’re going to North Carolina. We have a tremendous crowd of people. We're going to be there in a little while and then we're going to Florida, we're going to Miami. And I think we're staying overnight in Miami,” he said.

“And we're doing very well. The polls are looking, actually great, we're doing very well,” Mr Trump added over Marine One’s idling engines. “We're going to have a big victory. And I look forward to it. Some of you are traveling with us, I guess, and some of you aren't."

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