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President Trump has a pretty horrible guess about who gave him COVID-19

Published Oct 8th, 2020 5:16PM EDT
Trump covid update
Image: Chris Kleponis - Pool via CNP/MEGA
  • The latest Trump COVID update includes a guess that the president offered in an interview on Thursday about where he might have picked up the coronavirus, which infected him last week and forced him to relocate to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
  • Trump said he thinks his COVID-19 diagnosis may be the result of having to meet with Gold Star families and interact with survivors of America’s war dead.
  • Trump said he may have gotten COVID-19 from one of those survivors, since he can’t tell them to back up.

Earlier this week during an NBC town hall with Lester Holt, former Vice President Joe Biden said he wasn’t surprised that President Trump contracted the coronavirus — and contracted it to such a degree that he needed to relocate from the White House last week to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in order to receive care. Biden’s comment was based on everything from Trump spending months playing down the virus — proudly declaring at one point that “It’s like a miracle, it will disappear” — to his steadfast resistance toward wearing a face mask and even berating aides and reporters around him for wearing face masks in his presence.

The latest Trump COVID update, though, is a turn of events that no one likely anticipated, an even more surprising twist than Trump returning to the White House after spending only two days or so at Walter Reed. In an interview on Thursday, the president told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo that, eh, he figured he’d get coronavirus eventually. And he suggested that there’s at least an outside chance he contracted the deadly coronavirus because of being forced to meet with families of the country’s war dead.

“Sometimes, I’d be in groups of, for instance, Gold Star families,” Trump said. “I met with Gold Star families. I didn’t want to cancel that. But they all came in, and they all talk about their son and daughter and father. And, you know, they all came up to me, and they tell me a story … ‘My son, sir, was in Iraq.’ Or, ‘He was in Afghanistan.’ And, ‘Sir, he did this, and he did that, and then he charged in order to save his friends.’”

To those families, Trump said, he can’t respond with something like ‘Back up, stand 10 feet,’ you know? I just can’t do it.”

It was more than a passing comment or flippant reference to a possibility of where he picked up the virus. Trump continued and even got more specific, saying that the Gold Star family members sometimes “come within an inch of my face, sometimes. They want to hug me, and they want to kiss me. And they do. And, frankly, I’m not telling them to back up. I’m not doing it.”

This comes after Trump has not only held large rallies in the weeks leading up to his diagnosis — rallies where face masks were not required — but Trump also hosted a large gathering at the White House at the end of September during which he unveiled his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Moreover, it’s hard to track or trace the president’s diagnosis, since he, aides, and his doctors have not been fully transparent about his symptoms in addition to offering a full timeline of the president’s COVID-19 test results in the days before the announcement of his diagnosis.

The president on Thursday may have been referring to a September 27 event celebrating Gold Star families at the White House, an event at which top military leaders like Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard Admiral Charles Ray also attended. Ray, it should be noted, has tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days and has not said Gold Star families could be responsible for that.

The White House, meanwhile, tried to clean up Trump’s comments Thursday afternoon, with a White House pool report quoting spokeswoman Alyssa Farah saying that Trump’s “point was merely that in that timeframe … there were a number of different venues he’d been at and individuals he interacted with that it could have come from.”

Andy Meek
Andy Meek Trending News Reporter

Andy Meek is a reporter who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming. Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.