Trump coronavirus diagnosis: President threw MAGA hats into rally crowd one day before diagnosis

Commander-in-chief visited Minnesota on Wednesday night

Matt Mathers
Friday 02 October 2020 15:09 BST
Trump throws hat into Minnesota crowd one day before testing positive for coronavirus

President Donald Trump has been filmed throwing hats into the crowd at a campaign rally in Minnesota - just one day before confirming he and first lady Melania tested positive for coronavirus.

Video shows Mr Trump, 74, toss at least two caps - emblazoned with the 'Make American Great Again' slogan - into a crowd of tightly packed together supporters chanting "USA" at rally in Duluth on Wednesday.

The president had been visiting the key battleground state of Minnesota after the first presidential debate on Tuesday night, in which he mocked his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden for wearing a mask during the pandemic.

“Every time you see him, he’s got a mask,” Mr Trump said of Mr Biden, 77.  “He could be speaking 200 feet away from it. And he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen,” he added when quizzed by debate moderator Chris Wallace about his views on the efficacy of mask wearing.

The White House was on Thursday night thrown into disarray after officials confirmed that the president and first lady, 50, had contracted the disease, which has claimed some 207,000 US lives - more than any other country in the world.

Mr Trump's doctor said the commander-in-chief was feeling "well" and would continue his duties "without disruption" - sentiments echoed by campaign adviser Mica Mosbach, who took to the airwaves on Friday morning to issue assurances the president was in good health.

Mr Biden, who has made relatively few public appearances during the campaign, wished the president and his family well on Friday morning. "Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery. We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family," he said.

It is not how the president got infected, but he has been in close contact with aide Hope Hicks, who also tested positive on Thursday. He has recently spent time with vice president Mike Pence, Supreme Court nominee Amy Barrett and senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was aboard Air Force One with Mr Trump and Ms Hicks on Wednesday, as the campaign travelled to Minnesota.She took to the podium on Thursday to deliver a press conference at the White House, with reporters in attendance, not wearing a mask.

It is highly likely that at that point Ms McEnany will have known about Ms Hick's positive test.

Mr Trump's campaign team has been keen to stress that the president has not yet experienceed any coronavirus symptoms, but it remains to be seen whether or not he will develop complications associated with the disease. The virus hits the elderly and those with underlying health conditions - such as obesity - hardest.

Should the president become incapacitated - which his campaign team has already said won't happen - he could be forced to withdraw from the race for the Oval Office. In that event, it is likely the GOP would put another name on the ballot.

A vice president assumes power when a president is out of action, but it is less clear what happens when the incumbent is fighting for re-election. Some commentators have suggested that November's poll could now be delayed.


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