Trump Addresses Former Chief of Staff's Claim That He Tested Positive for COVID-19 Before Biden Debate

Donald Trump previously shared effusive praise for his former chief of staff Mark Meadows' new book, even urging his supporters to buy it for Christmas.

Trump is shown in front of a mic.

Image via Getty/Scott Olson

Trump is shown in front of a mic.

Donald Trump, despite previously heaping praise on a new book from his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, is now attempting to dispute a claim included in the memoir regarding a positive COVID-19 test last September.

According to an excerpt from Meadows’ upcoming The Chief’s Chief book published by the Guardian on Wednesday, Trump tested positive for COVID-19 just three days before a debate against Joe Biden, who ultimately beat the former Apprentice host in the 2020 presidential election. As Meadows writes, “nothing was going to stop [Trump] from going out there.”

In short, Meadows said the initial positive test on Sept. 26 had been completed using an older kit style. At the time, per Meadows, Trump looked “a little tired” and was presumed to have a cold. A subsequent Binax test came back negative. On Sept. 29, the day of the debate against Biden, Trump was reportedly not tested prior to the event starting. Moderator Chris Wallace later said that an “honor system” was utilized.

Mere days after the debate, it was announced publicly that Trump had COVID-19. At the time, much attention was paid to how Trump had incessantly downplayed the severity of the pandemic, even mocking Biden for wearing a mask. Criticism was also swift regarding the Trump team’s travels during this period.

“The story of me having COVID prior to, or during, the first debate is Fake News,” Trump, whose relationship with the truth is explored in depth here, said in a statement to NBC News on Wednesday. “In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID prior to the debate.”

Back in October, however, Trump shared a statement to his website in which he urged his followers to pre-order Meadows’ book. The 75-year-old Republican said the book would make for “an incredible Christmas present” due to “no other thing” being available.

“Seriously, it’s a fantastic book,” Trump said.

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