Reporter reveals how Trump exposed 'potentially hundreds of people' to COVID before first presidential debate

Reporter reveals how Trump exposed 'potentially hundreds of people' to COVID before first presidential debate

After months of downplaying the severity of COVID-19, President Donald Trump announced, on October 2, 2020, that he had tested positive for COVID-19 along with First Lady Melania Trump; after being treated at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, he returned to the White House on October 5. Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, in his new book, “The Chief’s Chief,” writes that Trump tested positive for COVID-19 days before his administration went public with that diagnosis — and CNN is reporting that there were “whispers” in the Trump White House that he was COVID-19-positive before his first debate with now-President Joe Biden on September 29.

CNN hosts Jake Tapper and Erica Hill discussed this reporting with their colleague Gabby Orr on Wednesday morning, December 1.

Hill noted, “Gabby, it wasn’t just this debate; there were a number of other places along the way where the former president was interacting with people” — to which Orr responded, “That's right, Erica. What we know, based on this new reporting, is that former President Donald Trump received a positive test for COVID-19 on September 26. Three days later, he took the debate stage in Cleveland for that first presidential debate against Joe Biden on September 29. And in between that positive test that Meadows writes about in his new book and the first presidential debate, he held an indoor press conference at the White House.”

Orr continued, “He held an indoor reception for gold star families at the White House. He held a press conference at the (White House) Rose Garden about coronavirus testing updates, and he met with supporters and held a rally in Pennsylvania. So, if you add all of those events together that the president — then-President Donald Trump attended between that positive test and the presidential debate, it is potentially hundreds of people that he knowingly put at risk after receiving a positive test for COVID-19.”

READ: 'Intentional deception': Mark Meadows releases damning details about Trump ahead of hearing with Jan. 6 panel

Orr added, however, that Trump is denying that he knew he had COVID-19 when he debated Biden on September 29.

In an official statement released on December 1, Orr noted, Trump said, “The story of me having COVID prior to or during the first debate is fake news. In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID prior to that debate.”

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