Saturday, 27 Feb 2021

Coronavirus: Trump awaits COVID-19 test results after potential exposures

WASHINGTON — After days of resistance, U.S. President Donald Trump said Saturday that he was tested for the coronavirus and is awaiting his results as the White House stepped up precautions around him following his repeated direct and indirect exposures to the new coronavirus.

Trump also told reporters at a White House briefing that he had his temperature taken and it was “totally normal” before stepping into the room to discuss the government’s efforts to halt the spread of the virus. The pandemic has now infected more than 2,200 people in the U.S. and caused at least 50 deaths.

Trump had held out on testing for days — concerned that it would make him appear weak — despite his interactions with at least three people who have since tested positive for COVID-19. Trump had said Friday that he would “most likely” submit to testing “fairly soon,” but the White House doctor said in a memo released shortly before midnight that no test was called for, despite the contact, because he wasn’t exhibiting symptoms like a fever or cough.

The president said he’d gone ahead with it anyway after repeated questions from reporters at a news conference Friday and would have the results in “a day or two days, whatever it is.” Vice-President Mike Pence, speaking at the same briefing, said he and his wife, Karen Pence, would also “be more than happy to be tested,” despite the doctors’ guidance, and would be contacting White House medical staff to arrange it.

Multiple lawmakers and countless citizens across the country who have had the same degree of exposure have not only tried to get tested, but also chosen to quarantine themselves as a precaution and to avoid potentially infecting others.

 

The president, according to two people close to the White House, had been reluctant to take the test for fear it would project weakness or worry. Trump has wanted to appear in full control during the crisis, and had expressed concerns that taking personal steps could undermine that appearance.

But as the White House grapples with repeated exposures by Trump and multiple senior aides, it has tightened precautions. On Saturday, the White House announced that it is now conducting temperature checks on anyone who is in close contact with Trump and Pence, including reporters who attended the Saturday White House briefing.

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