In photos: A timeline of Trump’s activities around the time of his positive Covid-19 testPhoto: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Editor’s Note: This story was first published on October 5, 2020. It has been updated to reflect former President Donald Trump reportedly testing positive for Covid-19 earlier than previously disclosed.
The public understanding of then-President Donald Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis in October 2020 was shaken after a new report suggested that Trump had tested positive earlier than previously disclosed.
According to excerpts from a forthcoming book from Trump’s former White House chief of staff,the then-President tested positive for Covid-19 three days ahead of his first 2020 presidential debate with then-candidate Joe Biden -- though he also had a negative result in that same timeframe.
Though Trump has cast that claim as false, the excerpt from Mark Meadows’ upcoming memoir, reported by The Guardian, has prompted a fresh look at the former President’s activities around the time of his first reportedly positive Covid-19 test.
A look at where he was:
Friday, September 18
Trump held a rally in Minnesota. Afterward, he appeared to be hearing the news about Ginsburg’s death for the first time from reporters.
“She led an amazing life," Trump said. "What else can you say? She was an amazing woman, whether you agree or not, she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life. I'm actually sad to hear that. I am sad to hear that.”
Saturday, September 19
Trump held a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Before heading to the rally, Trump vowed to appoint a woman to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died the day before.
Sunday, September 20
Trump played golf at his golf club in Potomac Falls, Virginia.
Monday, September 21
At a campaign rally in Ohio, Trump said coronavirus "affects elderly people, elderly people with heart problems and other problems. If they have other problems, that's what it really affects. That's it."
He also doubled down on previous claims that young people are "virtually immune," this time saying "take your hat off to the young because they have a hell of an immune system."
Trump briefly paused before adding, "It affects virtually nobody.”
Tuesday, September 22
Trump held a campaign event in Pittsburgh with a crowd that was not socially distancing.
He mocked Biden’s mask-wearing. "Is he going to walk in with a mask?" Trump said to the crowd, looking ahead to the first presidential debate. He added: “I’ll be honest. He feels good about it. He feels good about the mask, and that's OK. You know it, whatever makes you feel good.”
As he headed to the event, Trump was asked about the nation’s 200,000 coronavirus deaths. The President said "it's a shame" but claimed he had saved millions of lives.
Wednesday, September 23
Trump held a news conference claiming that the White House could override the US Food and Drug Administration if the agency released tougher standards for the authorization of a Covid-19 vaccine.
His comments came as the FDA considers new Covid-19 vaccine guidelines that would likely push an authorization beyond Election Day, according to three sources familiar with the situation.
Thursday, September 24
After paying his respects to Ginsburg, Trump traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina, to deliver a speech focused on health care. He later went to Jacksonville, Florida, for a rally.
In Jacksonville, Trump mocked Biden for not making as many public appearances as him that day.
"Supposing he never campaigns and he wins, you know how badly I'm going to feel? I'm working hard, and you've got to work hard," Trump said.
Friday, September 25
Trump campaigned in three different states: Florida, Georgia and Virginia.
Saturday, September 26
Trump spent much of Saturday with the woman he nominated to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court: Amy Coney Barrett. She and her family -- including her husband and seven children -- were all on hand at the White House, and met with Trump, the first lady and the Pences in the Oval Office.
Later, Trump attended a rally in Pennsylvania.
According to Meadows, Trump tested positive before traveling to the rally in Pennsylvania and then subsequently tested negative.
Sunday, September 27
Trump spoke to reporters at the White House, denying an explosive New York Times story that reported Trump paid no federal income taxes in 10 out of 15 years beginning in 2000. Trump claimed he pays “a lot” in federal income taxes.
Earlier in the day he visited his golf club in Sterling, Virginia, according to pool reports. At night, he and the first lady appeared at a White House reception for Gold Star families. The vice president and his wife also attended.
Monday, September 28
Trump held an unexpected event on the South Lawn of the White House, where he met with workers from Lordstown Motors and touted the work being done there. Lordstown Motors is a small automotive startup that has drawn national attention for its electric pickup truck, which the President viewed Monday at the White House.
Trump later appeared in the White House Rose Garden to hail a new testing strategy for coronavirus. "I say it all the time, we are rounding the corner," Trump said during the event.
Tuesday, September 29
Trump was in Cleveland for his first-ever debate with Biden.
Because of the pandemic, Trump and Biden did not shake hands. There was also a much smaller in-person audience than usual, and everyone attending was supposed to take a Covid-19 test and follow other safety protocols.
At one point during the debate, Trump mocked Biden for wearing a mask on the campaign trail: “I don’t wear a mask like (Biden), every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from it, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”
Wednesday, September 30
Trump traveled to Minnesota for an outdoor rally in Duluth and a private fundraiser in Minneapolis.
As he departed the White House, he told reporters he was getting “tremendous reviews” about his debate performance with Biden.
“I thought it was a great evening, it was an exciting evening,” he said. “I see the ratings were very high and it was good to be there, felt very comfortable.”
Thursday, October 1
Trump was last seen in public on Thursday afternoon, returning to the White House after a fundraising trip to New Jersey. He did not appear ill, though he did not speak to reporters as he walked into his residence.
Late Thursday night, hours before announcing his diagnosis, Trump tweeted that Hope Hicks, one of his closest aides, had tested positive for Covid-19.