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Trump says Gold Star families could have given him coronavirus

‘They all came up to me, and they tell me a story’ says US president

James Crump
Thursday 08 October 2020 18:18 BST
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Trump says Gold Star families could have given him coronavirus
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President Donald Trump has claimed that he might have contracted coronavirus from Gold Star family members.

Mr Trump was hospitalised at the Walter Reed Medical Centre on Friday evening, after he showed symptoms for coronavirus following a positive Covid-19 test result a few hours earlier.

After nearly three days at the facility, president Trump left the medical centre on Monday evening and returned to the White House.

On Thursday, president Trump suggested that he might have caught Covid-19 while listening to Gold Star Families, who are the relatives of US military personnel who died in battle, talk about their late relatives at a recent event at the White House, according to Politico.

During an interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo on Thursday, president Trump said that he “figured there would be a chance” of becoming infected, after he met with some Gold Star families.

He said: “Sometimes, I'd be in groups of, for instance, Gold Star families. I met with Gold Star families. I didn't want to cancel that.

“But they all came in, and they all talk about their son and daughter and father. And, you know, they all came up to me, and they tell me a story.”

Mr Trump told Bartiromo that Gold Star family members approached him to tell him a story about their relative, such as: “'My son, sir, was in Iraq.' Or, ‘He was in Afghanistan.’

“And, ‘Sir, he did this, and he did that, and then he charged in order to save his friends.’ And, 'Yes, sir, he was killed, but he saved his friends. He's so brave, sir.'”

The president described the stories as “beautiful, but sad” and said that the Gold Star family members would “come within an inch of my face, sometimes.”

He claimed that at a recent event at the White House, he “went through, like 35 people” who each “had a different story,” and said: “I can’t back up, Maria, and say, ‘Give me room. I want room. Give me 12 feet. Stay 12 feet away when you talk.’”

Mr Trump added that the family members “want to hug me, and they want to kiss me. And they do. And, frankly, I’m not telling them to back up. I’m not doing it.”

The president was likely referring to an event at the White House on 27 September, which celebrated Gold Star families and was attended by several high-ranking military personnel, according to Politico.

Two military leaders at the event tested positive for Covid-19 a week later, with vice commandant of the Coast Guard admiral Charles Ray’s diagnosis announced on Monday, and assistant marine commandant general Gary Thomas’s positive test result confirmed on Wednesday.

Video of the event, which showed several attendees not wearing face masks, was posted onto social media. After the president tested positive for Covid-19, the White House contacted the guests to warn them that they may have been exposed to coronavirus.

It has not yet been confirmed how Mr Trump contracted Covid-19, but the president and a number of his administration staff attended a ceremony at the White House’s Rose Garden on 26 September, where the president nominated judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Photographs from the event showed that a large majority of the more than 150 guests were not wearing face masks, and at least eight people who attended have subsequently tested positive for Covid-19.

Senior counselor to the president, Hope Hicks, who did not attend the event, tested positive for Covid-19 a day before Mr Trump, and the president previously suggested that she contracted coronavirus from members of the military or law enforcement.

“She’s fantastic, and she’s done a great job,” Mr Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity after Ms Hicks tested positive.

“But it’s very, very hard when you are with people from the military or from law enforcement,” he said. 

The president added: “And they come over to you and they — they want to hug you, and they want to kiss you because we really have done a good job for them. And you get close, and things happen.”

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