President Donald Trump said on Thursday evening that he didn’t recall whether or not he was tested for the coronavirus immediately before his debate with former Vice President Joe Biden.
“I don’t know, I don’t even remember,” Trump said at a town hall event on NBC. “I probably did” get tested, Trump added. “The doctors do it. I don’t ask them…if you ask the doctor he’ll give you the perfect answer.”
Trump tested positive for the coronavirus on Oct. 1, three days after his debate with Biden. The president, the White House, and the Trump campaign have repeatedly refused to say when Trump’s last negative test occurred.
Such information would potentially help determine if the president could have exposed numerous other people to the virus, including, potentially, Vice President Joe Biden and members of his campaign during that first debate in Cleveland. The Trump campaign had agreed with the debate sponsors to have the president tested prior to the debate. But they were not required to produce an actual test result but, rather, were asked to abide by an honor system.
Trump’s comments on Thursday evening came during an event that replaced a scheduled debate with Biden, canceled due to the president’s refusal to participate in a virtual event, which was organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates due to Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis.
The president’s diagnosis was just one of dozens among White House aides, Trump family members, and allies who’d been in contact with West Wing staffers in recent days. At the epicenter of the outbreak was a late September event in the White House Rose Garden celebrating the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. That event came three days prior to the presidential debate.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who attended the Rose Garden event and later tested positive for the coronavirus, told The New York Times on Thursday that he regrets not wearing a protective mask at that ceremony and in subsequent public appearances.
“I was wrong not to wear a mask at the Amy Coney Barrett announcement and I was wrong not to wear a mask at my multiple debate prep sessions with the president and the rest of the team,” Christie said. “I hope that my experience shows my fellow citizens that you should follow C.D.C. guidelines in public no matter where you are and wear a mask to protect yourself and others.”
Asked about those remarks at Thursday’s town hall, Trump brushed it off. “Well, I mean, he has to say that,” he said.