A close adviser to Donald Trump who has been in “close proximity” to him without a mask in recent days has tested positive for the virus.
A close adviser to Donald Trump who has been in “close proximity” to him without a mask in recent days has tested positive for the virus.

Close Trump adviser tests positive for virus

A close adviser to Donald Trump who frequently travels with the President has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Hope Hicks, a former White House communications director who returned to the administration as a counsellor to Mr Trump earlier this year, travelled to and from this week's presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio with him.

She was also aboard the President's helicopter, Marine One, for a trip to Joint Base Andrews yesterday. And she was aboard Air Force One for Mr Trump's visit to Minnesota, where he held a political rally.

Bloomberg News correspondent Jennifer Jacobs, who was first to report that Ms Hicks had contracted the virus, said the senior aide was experiencing symptoms, and had been in close proximity to Mr Trump without a mask in recent days.

Jacobs stressed there was no indication that Mr Trump himself had been infected.

"The President takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously," White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.

"White House Operations collaborates with the physician to the President and the White House Military Office to ensure all plans and procedures incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible, both on complex and when the President is travelling."

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Ms Hicks is one of Mr Trump's longest-serving and most trusted political advisers.

She first met the President in 2014, while employed by a public relations company that was representing his daughter Ivanka's fashion line.

She went on to become his White House communications director - replacing the controversial Anthony Scaramucci - until 2018, when she moved to California to become an executive at Fox Corporation.

"There are no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump," she said in a statement at the time of her departure.

"I wish the President and his administration the very best as he continues to lead our country."

"She is as smart and thoughtful as they come, a truly great person," Mr Trump said.

"I will miss having her by my side but when she approached me about pursuing other opportunities, I totally understood. I am sure we will work together again in the future."

That statement proved prescient. In February, shortly after the end of his impeachment trial, Mr Trump re-hired Ms Hicks to serve as an adviser.

 

 

 

Over the years, she has developed a reputation for knowing and understanding him better than most advisers.

Ms Hicks, the youngest communications director in history, became known as something of a Trump "whisperer" during her first stint in the White House.

As the rest of Mr Trump's staff often crumbled around her, with chiefs of staff and press secretaries quickly flaming out, she was the one constant, always by the President's side.

"My father makes people earn his trust. She's earned his trust," Ivanka Trump once said.

Ivanka poached her from the aforementioned PR company in 2014. By January of 2015, a short time after she joined the Trump Organisation, Mr Trump himself recruited her for his presidential campaign.

"Her most important role is her bond with the candidate. She totally understands him," campaign chairman Paul Manafort later told The New York Times.

 

Originally published as Close Trump adviser tests positive for virus


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