WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said in a tweet that he and first lady Melania Trump are beginning the self-quarantine process after Hope Hicks, one of his closest senior advisers, tested positive for the coronavirus.
Some of the details remained unclear Thursday night, but a source familiar with the situation said Hicks tested negative Wednesday morning, before a trip to Minnesota for a Trump rally, and was not believed to have been showing any symptoms before departure.
Hicks, who apparently began showing minor symptoms sometime late Wednesday, quarantined on Air Force One on the trip back, and her test came back positive Thursday morning, the source said.
Hicks, who is among the highest-profile members of the administration to have tested positive, is in frequent contact with Trump.
Hicks, 31, recently traveled on the presidential helicopter, Marine One, and on Air Force One with the president to Cleveland for Tuesday's debate, along with 20 to 30 aides and family members, and she was seen backstage. Hicks was also on the plane traveling to Trump's rally in Minnesota on Wednesday night, along with the president's son-in-law and top aide, Jared Kushner, and Dan Scavino, another top White House adviser.
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She was seen in a photo Wednesday not wearing a mask after exiting Marine One with Kushner and White House aide Stephen Miller.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that those who test positive should self-isolate, monitor symptoms and wear masks when around other people. It says to seek emergency medical care immediately if symptoms, such as trouble breathing, get worse.
The president confirmed Hicks' diagnosis, which was first reported by Bloomberg News, during a phone interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday night and said he and the first lady had been tested but had not yet heard the results.
"Whether we quarantine or whether we have it, I don't know," Trump, 74, told Hannity. "I just went for a test, and we'll see what happens."
He said Hicks is a person who is "warm" with military members and for whom "it's very hard to say 'stay back.'"
Trump later tweeted that he and the first lady will begin isolating until they receive their results.
Judd Deere, the White House deputy press secretary, did not confirm Hicks' positive test results in a statement to NBC News earlier Thursday but instead described the administration's safety precautions.
"The President takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously," he said. "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 guidelines and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible both on complex and when the President is traveling."
Hicks, the former White House communications director and top press aide to Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, returned to the White House in February to work closely with Kushner.
Hicks left the White House in 2018 to take on a senior role in Fox Corp.'s communications office.
Hicks had no political experience before she joined the Trump campaign in 2016. Before that, she worked for Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump.
Her resignation in 2018 came one day after she testified before the House Intelligence Committee in its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Hicks was referred to nearly 180 times in special counsel Robert Mueller's report on the matter.
Earlier this year, several White House staffers, including Secret Service personnel, tested positive for the virus after a Trump rally. One of the president's personal valets, who works in the West Wing serving him his meals, among other duties, tested positive for the coronavirus in May.