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GOP donors ‘freaking out’ after coming close to Trump at fundraiser hours before his positive Covid-19 test


President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as he walks from Marine One after arriving on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, October 1, 2020, following campaign events in New Jersey.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Republican donors who attended President Donald Trump’s fundraiser at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club are panicking after being around the commander in chief hours before he announced that he was infected with the coronavirus.

GOP donors have been reaching out to Trump campaign and GOP officials for any guidance following the event, according to a person briefed on the matter.

“The donors have been texting and calling. Freaking out,” the person with direct knowledge said. This person declined to be named as the conversations were deemed private. 

Trump’s campaign, as of Friday morning, has not sent out any official guidance to many of the donors involved with the event. After publication of this article, donors who attended the gathering were sent an email with an 11:18 a.m. ET time stamp. The email reminds them that no one was permitted within six feet of the president and advises them to contact their doctor if they start feeling coronavirus symptoms. 

“Out of an abundance of caution, we want to call this to your attention. Please be reminded that due to Trump Victory-protocol, no attendees were allowed within 6 ft of President Trump at the event,” the email, signed only by “Trump Victory,” says. “Please contact your medical provider if you or any of your loved ones is ill or develops a fever, shortness of breath, or other respiratory symptoms.”

About 30 to 50 donors came close to the president Thursday night, this person added, while noting most of the interaction with Trump took place outdoors. Many of those contributors who have been able to get in touch with GOP officials have been told to stay home and reach out to their physician for next steps. 

The Republican National Committee has said everyone who attended the Bedminster event was tested for Covid-19, passed a temperature test and was 6 feet or more from the president at all times.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy urged everyone who attended the event “to take full precautions, including self-quarantining and getting tested.” 

Trump announced on Twitter at 12:54 a.m. ET Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien reportedly sent a notice to campaign staff that says “any campaign staff member who has had exposure to someone testing positive should immediately begin self-quarantine.” He noted the campaign office remains open. 

The gathering had tickets costing up to $250,000. Dr. Rich Roberts, a longtime Republican donor, told The Lakewood Scoop on Friday that Trump privately met with about 19 people at the event. Roberts estimates that the meeting lasted about 45 minutes.   

Some Republican donors questioned the president’s decision to go to the event after his longtime advisor Hope Hicks became ill. Hicks tested positive Thursday morning after displaying symptoms Wednesday night while on a campaign trip to Minnesota with the president. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters Friday that Hicks’ diagnosis became known just before the president left for Bedminster.

Representatives for the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee did not respond to requests for comment. 

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