Former President Donald Trump's ex-Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, made a shocking claim in his upcoming memoir that Trump tested positive for COVID-19 just three days before his chaotic first presidential debate against then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden on September 29 of last year.
Though Meadows' book also states that Trump later returned a negative test, he announced he did, in fact, have COVID on October 2, just days after the debate.
The allegation of an unreported positive test generated widespread controversy, with people noting that not only did Trump potentially endanger Biden, but many others—including Military families—with whom he interacted in that time frame.
Trump soon issued a brief statement calling Meadows' claim "Fake News," writing:
“The story of me having COVID prior to, or during, the first debate is Fake News. In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID prior to the debate.”
Though Trump noted he received a negative result from a different test, Meadows writes in the book that Trump had
“to test negative for the virus within seventy two hours of the start time … Nothing was going to stop [Trump] from going out there.”
What's more, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman revealed two sources with knowledge confirmed Meadows' account of Trump's initial positive test.
Given that Trump told more than 30 thousand lies over the course of his presidency, people weren't inclined to believe his denial.
Trump's behavior at the time has new context in light of this allegation.
Meadows has also begun limited cooperation with the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.