President Donald Trump had ‘raspy’ voice hours before positive coronavirus test
In the days leading up to Donald and Melania Trump testing positive for coronavirus, those closest to the US president admitted something felt off about the usually unwavering world leader.
Just hours before Mr Trump received his coronavirus diagnosis, a pre-recorded speech from the president aired.
During the speech, recorded in the White House, to a Catholic charity dinner in New York on Thursday night, Mr Trump was optimistic.
“I just want to say that the end of the pandemic is in sight, and next year will be one of the greatest years in the history of our country,” he said.
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By early Friday morning, around 1am local time, Mr Trump revealed he and his wife had tested positive.
It is not yet clear when and how Mr Trump contracted the virus, however Hope Hicks, one of the president’s closest aides, tested positive on Thursday.
Ms Hicks was tested on Wednesday night after she began experiencing coronavirus symptoms at a rally in the US state of Minnesota that same day.
The day before Ms Hicks had travelled with the president, all of his adult children, White House senior staff and Mr Trump’s campaign staff on Air Force One to Cleveland for the presidential debate.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who engaged in a particularly shouty two hour debate with Mr Trump on Tuesday night, is yet to reveal if he’s taken a coronavirus test.
On stage, Mr Trump mocked Mr Biden for how often he wore a mask.
“I wear masks when needed. I don’t wear masks like him,” Mr Trump said, motioning towards Mr Biden.
“Every time you see him, he‘s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”
But the mood among Mr Trump, his family and his staff changed after Ms Hicks admitted she had coronavirus symptoms in Minnesota.
According to the New York Times, Ms Hicks flew home on Air Force One but was isolated in a separate cabin.
She left via the back of the plane while everyone else left from the front.
And on Thursday, Mr Trump’s White House aides started wearing masks.
“On Thursday evening, before his own diagnosis was made public, Mr Trump sounded raspy on a call with Iowa voters and in an interview later with Sean Hannity on Fox News. Some aides chalked it up to a busy week of campaigning,” the publication reported.
Since Tuesday, Mr Trump had engaged in an aggressive debate with Mr Biden, had spoke for 45 minutes at the Minnesota rally and had interacted with dozens of White House aides ahead of the November election.
During his interview with Sean Hannity, Mr Trump said it had been difficult for him and his staff to social distance.
“It’s very hard when you’re with soldiers, when you are with airmen, when you’re with the Marines, and the police officers, I’m with them so much,” he told Fox News.
“And when they come over to you, it’s hard to say, ‘stay back, stay back’. You know, it’s a tough kind of a situation, it’s a terrible thing.
“I just went for a test, and we‘ll see what happens. I mean, who knows … I was surprised to hear with Hope, but she’s a very warm person with them.”
Hours later, Mr Trump announced his and Melania’s positive test result.
“We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” he wrote on Twitter.
According to US media, the list of people potentially exposed to coronavirus is massive.
It includes Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, Eric Trump and his wife Lara, Tiffany Trump, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Adviser Stephen Miller, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Congressman Jim Jordan, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien and criminal justice reform advocate Alice Marie Johnson.
The positive test result will drastically change the presidential election campaign, with Mr Trump needing to self-isolate for at least the next 14 days.