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Trump Aide Hope Hicks Tests Positive for Coronavirus Infection

Hope Hicks, one of President Donald Trump’s closest aides, has tested positive for coronavirus infection, according to people familiar with the matter.

There was no indication that the president has contracted the virus, the people said. Hicks traveled with Trump aboard Air Force One to and from the presidential debate on Tuesday.

The people asked not to be identified because Hicks’s infection has not been publicly announced. Messages left for Hicks were not immediately returned.

Hicks is the latest person in Trump’s orbit to contract the virus, which has infected more than 7.2 million Americans and killed more than 200,000. Other senior staff have contracted Covid-19 and recovered including National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, but few spend as much time with the president as Hicks, whose service dates to his 2016 campaign.

Some people close to Hicks were told that she is experiencing symptoms of the disease.

“The president takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement. “White House Operations collaborates with the physician to the president and the White House Military Office to ensure all plans and procedures incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting Covid-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible, both on complex and when the president is traveling.”

The development is likely to inflame criticism of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the president’s disregard for public health measures to combat it.

Trump seldom wears a mask and has belittled his re-election challenger, Joe Biden, for routinely covering his face. The president has resumed holding large campaign rallies at which thousands of his supporters gather, shoulder to shoulder, few in masks.

Most of the events are held outdoors at airports but two recent events in Arizona and Nevada were indoors, a setting that public health experts warn raises the risk of virus transmission.

Hicks traveled with Trump to his debate with Biden on Tuesday and to a Minnesota rally on Wednesday. Trump’s entourage entered the debate hall without face coverings, or removed them as they sat down, and refused an offer of masks from a doctor at the Cleveland Clinic, which was co-hosting the event.

Biden’s guests wore masks.

Hicks was seen on Tuesday riding maskless in a staff van with White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, campaign adviser Jason Miller and others.

When they returned to Washington on Tuesday, Stephen Miller and Hicks were seen sharing an umbrella as they exited Air Force One in the rain. Miller’s wife, Katie Miller — Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary — recovered from Covid-19 earlier this year.

Hicks felt poorly in Minnesota on Wednesday and was quarantined aboard Air Force One during the return flight, according to people familiar with the matter. She tested positive for the virus on Thursday.

Trump is tested regularly, though it is not clear precisely how often. People who work in the White House are tested daily, including members of the press corps, and anyone scheduled to meet with the president is tested beforehand.

Trump’s staff wear masks when traveling with him aboard the presidential helicopter, Marine One, and Hicks observed that protocol this week.

But his aides worry that Trump’s lack of sleep during the final stretch of the presidential campaign could leave him especially vulnerable to infection. The president did not return to the White House until after midnight following his Tuesday and Wednesday trips. Trump’s age, 74, also puts him at greater risk for serious illness from the virus.

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