Air Force One and Marine One fleet will be grounded for cleaning

Covid crisis sweeps White House and Capitol Hill as Air Force One and Marine One fleet will be grounded for a deep clean, at least three reporters test positive and congressional and SCOTUS staff rush to testing sites

  • The entire fleet of Air Force One and Marine One will be grounded for a deep clean in the wake of President Trump testing positive for Covid-19 
  • Two customized Boeing 747s and several Sikorsky helicopters will be out of commission during the cleaning
  • Washington D.C. has been thrown into a tailspin since Trump’s positive test, as congressional aides and SCOTUS staffers rush to sites to get tested  
  • There is concern that the White House’s event of unveiling SCOTUS nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Saturday could be a nexus for the spread,
  • At least three White House reporters have tested positive 
  • One journalist who tested positive had traveled with Trump on Air Force One for a mostly maskless rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday, according to CNN
  • Trump had come to the back of the plane to talk for about 10 minutes, as the reporters had to gather closely around him due to the loud noise of the aircraft
  • Reporters have feared for months of an outbreak, citing that they frequently interact with White House aides, many of whom refuse to wear masks 

The entire fleet of Air Force One and Marine One will be grounded for a deep clean in an unprecedented measure in the wake of President Trump testing positive for Covid-19 on Thursday.

Two customized Boeing 747s, one of which carried Trump on Thursday, and several Sikorsky helicopters, often used to transport the president from the White House to Andrews Air Force Base, will be out of commission during the cleaning.

Washington D.C. has been thrown into a tailspin since Trump’s positive test, as congressional aides and SCOTUS staffers rush to sites to get tested. 

There is concern that the White House’s event of unveiling SCOTUS nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Saturday could be a nexus for the spread, as Trump, first lady Melania, top aide Hope Hicks and Senator Mike Lee were all in attendance and all have tested positive.  

Reporters are also scrambling to get tests, as three members of the press confirmed they were positive, according to a memo from the White House Correspondents Association and obtained by CNN. 

The entire fleet of Air Force One and Marine One will be grounded for a deep clean in an unprecedented measure in the wake of President Trump testing positive for Covid-19 on Thursday

WEDNESDAY: The crowd cheers as Air Force One arrives with President Donald Trump at Duluth International Airport on Wednesday. Two customized Boeing 747s, one of which carried infected Trump on Wednesday (pictured) will be grounded due to the cleaning 

At least three White House reporters have also tested positive for the deadly virus and Supreme Court staffers rushed to sites to get tested. Pictured: The White House’s press briefing room is almost empty on Friday 

Washington D.C. has been thrown into a tailspin since Trump’s positive test, as congressional aides and SCOTUS staffers rush to sites to get tested

Reporters have feared for months of an outbreak, citing that they frequently interact with White House aides, many of whom refuse to wear masks. 

Even on Friday, aides were seen roaming around without masks, including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows who said he didn’t need to wear one during a Q&A with reporters because he had tested negative for COVID that morning.

One journalist who tested positive had traveled with Trump on Air Force One for a mostly maskless rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday, The reporter began showing symptoms on Thursday. 

The reporter had been wearing a mask, as did the other reporters.

However, due to the loud noise on the aircraft, the members of the press had to gather closely around to hear Trump as he spoke for 10 minutes.

On Friday, a third journalist had tested positive, according to CNN.

This reporter ‘was at the White House on Saturday in the Rose Garden and Sunday, in the in-town pool vans and briefing room. The individual began experiencing minor symptoms late Wednesday.’

Utah Senator Mike Lee, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced his positive result on Friday, causing a flurry among Congressional aides and SCOTUS staffers. 

He had been pictured at the White House unveiling of SCOTUS nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett maskless, while chatting amiably with guests, as well as kissing and hugging people.

It is impossible to immediately tell if the Saturday event is where the president and the others became infected – or perhaps unwittingly spread it to others.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, pictured on Tuesday, are both experiencing ‘mild symptoms’ after being diagnosed with COVID-19. They are quarantining in the White House 

Reporters have feared for months of an outbreak, citing that they frequently interact with White House aides, many of whom refuse to wear masks. Even on Friday, aides were seen roaming the White House without masks, including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows who said he didn’t need to wear one during a Q&A with reporters because he had tested negative for COVID that morning (pictured) 

The superspreader event? As of Friday, four people who tested positive for the coronavirus have been identified at Saturday’s White House announcement about President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, sparking Capitol Hill staffers to get tests

Immediately after the event Trump flew to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania aboard Air Force One, a possible vector for infection.

The plane features tight quarters and shared spaces. 

Trump revealed his diagnosis in the early hours of Friday morning, a few hours after it was revealed Hicks tested positive, tweeting: ‘Tonight Flotus and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!’

He was last seen in person on Thursday evening, returning from a fundraiser at his New Jersey golf club where he is believed to have come into contact with at least 100 people.

It raised $5 million for his campaign, which has now canceled all future events in light of the president’s diagnosis.

The president did not wear a mask when left or returned for his trip. He has shown a reluctance to wear one in public and private. 

He even mocked Joe Biden during the presidential debate on Tuesday, teasing the former VP wore ‘the biggest mask he ever seen’.

Sources cited by The New York Times say the President was already lethargic on the way back from Thursday’s New Jersey event, and that he fell asleep on Air Force One on Wednesday night when returning from a rally in Minnesota – something that is highly unusual for the energetic President, who ordinarily spends his time on the aircraft watching television and tweeting.

The Minnesota rally was also only half as long as his other rallies.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said it was deemed safe for the president to attend Thursday’s fundraiser.  

Last photo before diagnosis: Donald Trump returns to the White House from his helicopter Marine One on Thursday afternoon, hours before revealing that he and the first lady had tested positive for Covid-19. He had attended a fundraiser in New Jersey

SEPTEMBER 14: Hope Hicks sitting at close quarters with Donald Trump aboard Marine One, although wearing a mask 

A TIMELINE OF THE PRESIDENT’S TRAVEL 

Saturday, September 26: Trump announces his Supreme Court pick at the White House, then travels to a rally in Pennsylvania with aides including Hope Hicks. 

Sunday, September 27: The president plays golf in Virginia, gives a press conference in the White House briefing room and hosts a reception for Gold Star families. 

Monday, September 28: Trump gives a press briefing and inspects pickup vehicles on the White House lawn.  

Tuesday, September 29: Hicks is aboard Air Force One with the president and Melania to travel to the first presidential debate in Cleveland. Hicks is seen leaving the jet without a mask. 

The president spars with Joe Biden in a chaotic debate. Trump family members do not wear masks during the debate, violating venue rules.  

Wednesday, September 30: Hicks travels on Marine One and on Air Force One to a rally in Minnesota Wednesday.

She is understood to have felt poorly on the way back, quarantining on the presidential plane to get home. 

Thursday, October :  Hicks tests positive. 

White House aides are told about it and pull people from Air Force One who had been in contact with her but they still let Trump go to the NJ event. 

Trump went to the event where the NY Times claims he came into contact with 100 people. 

He then came back to the WH, where he was ‘lethargic’, and tested positive.  

Friday, October 2: A political rally in Sanford, Florida is cancelled. 

‘It was deemed safe for the president to go. He socially distanced. It was an outdoor event and it was deemed safe by White House operations,’ she told reporters at the White House on Friday.

Trump is 74 years old and at 244lbs and 6ft 3, is technically obese which puts him at higher risk of serious complications from the virus. His Chief of Staff said on Friday that he is ‘in good spirits’ and is not only ‘on the job now, but will remain on the job’.

On Friday afternoon, Trump’s doctor released a statement saying he had been ‘infused’ with the antibodies – which are known to help COVID patients recover faster ‘without incident’. He has also been given zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin. NBC cites unidentified sources who say the President also has a low grade fever.

While Trump’s only symptom appears to be fatigue, Melania is suffering from a ‘mild cough and headache’. The pair are quarantining in the White House.

The White House is under close scrutiny for the timeline events after Trump tweeted in the early morning hours Friday that he and first lady tested positive for COVID. 

Hicks was said to have experienced symptoms on Wednesday evening and quarantined herself on Air Force One when she flew back from Minnesota with the president and White House staff.

The Centers for Disease Control advises people in regards to COVID: ‘Even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy, you should stay home (quarantine) since symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.’

The president sounded vague on what happened when he talked about Hicks’ diagnosis during an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News Thursday night.

‘So, she did test positive. I just heard about this. She tested positive,’ he said.

He added he and first lady Melania Trump had just been tested.

‘I just went out with a test. I’ll see what — because we spend a lot of time. And the first lady just went out with a test also,’ he said.

The White House has not given specifics on when tests were given and results were learned so it’s unclear if Trump was tested Thursday morning after learning about Hicks or Thursday evening as he said on Hannity or both.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows gave a different version of events when he said the administration learned of Hicks’ diagnosis on Thursday afternoon, as Marine One was preparing to lift off for the president’s fundraiser.

‘I’m not going to get into the tiktok,’ he told reporters at the White House on Friday when asked about the sequence of events.

‘In terms of Hope Hicks, we discovered that right as the Marine One was taking off yesterday. We actually pulled some of the people that had been traveling and in close contact,’ he added.

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