WASHINGTON – Former President Donald Trump knowingly endangered the lives of Gold Star families, wealthy donors during a fundraiser in Minnesota, then Democratic candidate Joe Biden, White House staff, Air Force One crews, White House reporters and others, according to a new book from his former chief of staff.
Trump finally admitted he contracted COVID-19 just after midnight on October 2, just 24 hours after a campaign rally in Minnesota where he looked like he had peaked and cut short his 90 minutes of rambling remarks just 45.
That, however, was actually nearly six days after September 26, when he initially tested positive, according to former chief of staff Mark Meadows in his new memoir, as reported by The Guardian.
In the meantime, Trump hosted a reception for the families of the deceased servicemen, hosted a rally of business leaders at the White House, attended a presidential debate with Biden, visited reporters in the press section of the ‘Air Force 1 and interacted with several flight crews of Navy helicopters and Air Force aircraft.
“The entire episode demonstrates complete disregard for the public health and well-being of others,” said Alyssa Farah Griffin, Trump’s former communications director who left the White House as Trump kept lying about the results of the 2020 elections.
Farah Griffin added that she was not aware of the positive test. “It’s hard to believe that everyone involved thought it was OK.”
Meadows wrote that a second test carried out later September 26 showed a negative result – and that Trump and his team chose to believe it was correct and the previous one false, rather than the other way around, even though neither test was considered fully reliable.
Trump, a frequent liar who told several thousand lies during his presidency, claimed Wednesday that Meadows’ claims in his book were “fake news.”
His post-presidential team did not respond to questions from HuffPost, other than to refer to Trump’s statement.
“I had staff who were pregnant, a cancer survivor, and half of the West Wing was 65 and over. The risk they pose to so many people is unfathomable.
– Former White House official
After Trump recovered from treatment using synthetic antibodies – at the time, a hugely expensive experimental procedure – Trump actually attempted to suggest that the people he interacted with after his positive test had infected him.
“They sometimes come an inch closer to my face, they want to hug me and they want to kiss me. And they do. And frankly, I’m not telling them to back off. I don’t, but obviously it’s a dangerous thing i guess if you go by the COVID thing, ”he said of the families of fallen soldiers he encountered one day after he tested positive and five days before his hospitalization.
Fred Wellman, a retired Army helicopter pilot with 22 years of service who worked with the anti-Trump Lincoln Project last year, said Meadows’ timeline proved Trump’s character.
“Finding out now that he went to the event knowing he had tested positive for COVID and refused to wear a mask or allow guests to wear it shows the absolute depth of his moral depravity and disrespect. to anyone or anything but how it looks, ”Wellman said.
“I didn’t think I could think less of Donald Trump, but finding out that he knowingly and willfully exposed the children and elderly family members of our deceased servicemen to COVID for photos shows how deeply immoral and broken he is that we. never imagined, ”he added. “He doesn’t care about anyone other than himself.”
Meadows claims in the book that he told his staff to be wary of Trump because of the positive test, but how far that information has spread is unclear.
“I’ve never heard of anything like it,” said a former senior White House official who has interacted frequently with Trump and spoke on condition of anonymity due to his current position in Republican politics.
Another, a supervisor of many staff, was outraged. “I had staff who were pregnant, a cancer survivor, and half of the West Wing was 65 and over,” the official said, also on condition of anonymity. “It’s unfathomable the risk they pose to so many people. Including Chris Christie, who was dangerously ill.
Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, was helping Trump prepare for his debates with Biden and contracted COVID soon after. He recently said the GOP needs to look beyond Trump, but if Trump liquidates the candidate in 2024, he’s ready to back him up again.
Meadows’ account further confirms Trump’s general contempt for coronavirus mitigation measures.
During his entire last year in office, even after catching and recovering the disease himself, Trump downplayed the severity and lethality of the virus. In the first months of 2020, he claimed it was similar to the common cold, no worse than the flu, and even a hoax by Democrats and the media aimed at damaging his chances of re-election.
At a press conference in Rose Garden, Trump demanded that chairs that had been spaced six feet apart, as directed by health officials, be pushed together. He opposed the blockades and mocked people who wore masks, frequently mocking Biden for wearing “the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.” And while recovering at Walter Reed Hospital, while still contagious, he insisted that the Secret Service drive him in an SUV so he could greet his fans.
TJ Ducklo, the Biden campaign press secretary, said Trump and his campaign’s bizarre behavior around the September 29 debate set off the alarm bells at the time. Trump arrived too late to take a COVID test, as demanded by the debate organizers, and then his family defied the rules of the debate by refusing to wear masks during the event.
“We have said many times during the campaign that Donald Trump doesn’t care about anyone but himself. He knowingly and willfully put millions of people at risk by ignoring the warning signs of COVID in early 2020. It’s a shocking, horrifying and disgusting reminder of how dangerous and deceptive he really is, ”Ducklo said.
In January, Trump became the first president in 232 years of U.S. elections to refuse to peacefully cede power to his successor.
He spent weeks attacking the legitimacy of the November 3, 2020 contest that he lost, beginning his pre-dawn lies on November 4 that he had truly won in a “landslide” and that his victory was “stolen” to him. These lies have continued through a long line of unsuccessful lawsuits challenging the results in a handful of states.
Trump and some of his advisers have even discussed the use of the military by invoking insurgency law or declaring martial law to retain power despite the election defeat, including seizing voting machines and ordering “new votes” in states narrowly won by Biden.
But military leaders had previously made it clear that they would not get involved in the political process. So after the Electoral College finally voted on December 14, formalizing Biden’s victory, Trump instead turned to an ultimate ploy to pressure his own vice president. to overturn the ballots of millions of voters in multiple states that Biden won; and to declare Trump the winner in pro forma certification of election results by Congress on Jan.6.
Trump asked his supporters to come to Washington that day, then told the tens of thousands of people who showed up to walk on Capitol Hill to intimidate Vice President Pence into doing what Trump wanted. “When you catch someone in a scam, you are allowed to follow very different rules,” Trump said.
The mob of supporters he instigated attempted to make his offer by storming the building. They even chanted “Hang Mike Pence” after the vice president refused to comply with Trump’s demands.
A policeman died after being assaulted during the insurgency, and four others committed suicide in the days and weeks that followed. One of the rioters was shot and killed as she climbed through a broken window into an anteroom containing members of the House still evacuating, and three others in the crowd died in the melee.
Although the House impeached Trump for inciting the attack, all but seven Senate Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, chose not to condemn him, leaving Trump to continue his political career even then. that he faces several inquiries into his post-election actions.
Trump and his allies are now engaged in a campaign to portray the shot-dead rioter, Ashli Babbitt, as a martyr and the hundreds of others who have been arrested as victims of political persecution. Trump himself continues to suggest that he will run for the 2024 GOP nomination and use his Save America committee money to continue spreading the same lies that resulted in the January 6 violence.