After coronavirus diagnosis, questions swirl about Trump’s N.J. fundraiser

President Donald Trump speaks during an event in the Rose Garden

President Donald Trump speaks during an event in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The announcement came early Friday morning: President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for coronavirus.

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

The diagnosis posed new questions about this year’s presidential election.

But it also raised fresh public health concerns in New Jersey, where Trump hosted a fundraiser Thursday night at his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.

One of the states hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, New Jersey has drastically reduced its coronavirus cases since their peak in the spring, thanks in part to social distancing and other restrictions meant to slow the spread of the virus.

It is unclear whether Trump, who hosted the fundraiser just hours before announcing his positive diagnosis, wore a face covering during the event, something he has resisted in the past.

“The NJGOP wishes President Trump and the First Lady a speedy recovery,” said Harrison Neely, a spokesman for the state Republican Party. “The fundraiser was not a NJGOP event and Chairman [Doug] Steinhardt was not in attendance.”

Gov. Phil Murphy, in a joint statement with First Lady Tammy Murphy, urged everyone who attended the Bedminster fundraiser to self-quarantine and get tested for COVID-19. He also said that contact tracing was “underway.”

“Tammy and I send our best wishes to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a speedy and complete return to good health. If there is one thing we have learned in New Jersey over these months, it’s that we pull together and support everyone fighting this virus,” the statement read.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Friday that the president was experiencing “mild symptoms” of the virus.

Which way will Pa. vote?

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal