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Trump, First Lady test positive for COVID and begin quarantine

President Donald Trump wears a mask as he gets a tour of the Whirlpool Corporation facility in Clyde, Ohio, in this file photo. (Susan Walsh/AP photo via Courthouse News)

(CN) — President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus and will begin quarantining, the president confirmed early Friday morning.

In a letter from the president’s physician Sean Conley, the doctor confirmed Trump and his wife tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Hope Hicks, who traveled with the president to Tuesday’s debate in Cleveland and a campaign rally in Minnesota on Wednesday, was the first reported to test positive on Thursday.

Trump did a call-in interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity Thursday evening, at that time saying he only recently heard about Hicks and that he and the first lady were still waiting for test results.

“She did test positive, I just heard about this. She tested positive. She’s a hard worker. Lot of masks, she wears masks a lot but she tested positive. Then I just went out with a test. I’ll see, you know, because we spent a lot of time, and the first lady just went out with a test also. So whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don’t know,” Trump said.

“I just went for a test and we’ll see what happens,” he added.

Trump had travelled to a fundraiser in New Jersey Thursday night. After news broke that the president had become infected, he took to Twitter to confirm the news.

“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” the president tweeted.

Hicks was seen boarding Marine One with other aides Jared Kushner, Nicholas Luna and Dan Scavino Wednesday. None of them were wearing masks.

Trump said he thinks she could have picked it up from a supporter this past week.

“She’s a very warm person,” he said on Hannity’s show. “She has a hard time when soldiers and law enforcement comes up to her, you know. She wants to treat them great, not say, ‘Stay away, I can’t get near you.’”

The news comes as the Trump administration continues to downplay the pandemic. Trump himself has repeatedly refused to wear a mask, only doing so a few times in public. More than 200,000 Americans have died from the virus so far.

In a statement, White House spokesman Judd Deere said, “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 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,” he said.

Hicks is one of Trump’s longest-serving officials, having originally served as communications director before rejoining the White House this year as a counselor to the reelection campaign.

The president was scheduled to attend a campaign rally in Sanford, Florida on Friday.