Mark Meadows, who served as chief of staff to former president Donald Trump, sided with his one-time boss Wednesday over coverage of his forthcoming memoir, agreeing it’s “fake news.”
“If you actually read the book — the context of it — that story outlined a false positive,” Meadows said of the part of the book that outlines how Trump tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of a 2020 debate with now-President Joe Biden, which was excerpted in the Guardian and led to numerous headlines Wednesday.
During an interview on Newsmax, he continued: “Literally he had a test, had two other tests after that, showed that he didn’t have COVID during the debate and yet, you know, the way that the media wants to spin it is certainly to be as negative about Donald Trump as they possibly can while giving Joe Biden a pass.”
Trump himself denied Wednesday that he had COVID-19 during the debate.
“The story of me having COVID prior to, or during, the first debate is Fake News. In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID prior to the debate,” Trump said in a statement that was distributed to the email list for his Save America PAC.
Per the Guardian, in “The Chief’s Chief,” out Dec. 7, Meadows wrote that though both candidates were required “to test negative for the virus within 72 hours of the start time” of the Sept. 29, 2020 debate, “Nothing was going to stop [Trump] from going out there.” A second test, taken after a positive one, returned a negative result, the former chief of staff added.
Three days after that debate, Trump was admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center and treated for COVID-19. Speculation swirled about whether he had been positive for the virus at the debate and while attending other events around the time, including a Sept. 26 White House reception to celebrate the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court (which was not socially distanced and at which few attendees wore masks). His infection had not been publicly disclosed until just before his hospitalization, but following the nomination event, numerous other high-profile administration members and politicians, including then-First Lady Melania Trump, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, tested positive.