Charles Kolean, an investment worker in Dallas, was thrilled to snap a picture with President Donald Trump last week after the 25-year-old won a Republican fundraising contest.
That enthusiasm soon turned into shock.
On Monday, the Dallas Young Republicans member isolated himself at home to avoid possible spread of the coronavirus after his exposure to Trump, who tested positive last week, one day after the donor event.
“I was really surprised to hear that because he looked so healthy the night before,” said Kolean.
“I plan to quarantine the entire 14 days and do another COVID-19 test if I get symptoms,” he added. He had a negative test since returning home, and Trump’s presidential campaign and New Jersey officials contacted him about his potential exposure.
Kolean was among about 60 VIPs from a guest list of around 200 people at the event on Thursday at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey. Guests typically donated between $ 5,600 and $ 250,000 to Trump’s re-election bid to receive an invitation. They nibbled on small steak and lamb bites that waiters with masks and gloves distributed on trays.
Participants contacted by Reuters said that participant security protocols relied on rapid coronavirus testing.
VIP attendees who were allowed closer proximity to Trump were tested for the virus at the entrance and then waited in their cars for the results. After their negative test, Kolean and his friend, the mortgage industry manager Daniel Hux, greeted Trump privately and kept a distance of two meters but were not allowed to shake Trump’s hand. The group went outside to make Trump’s remarks.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy called the event on Monday reckless as Trump knew that Hope Hicks, a top adviser who accompanied him to Cleveland for a presidential debate earlier last week, had tested positive for the virus.
The Republican National Committee, which helped organize the fundraiser, and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Murphy said officials from New Jersey emailed 184 of the 206 participants in the fundraiser with a list provided by the RNC. About half of the guests came from New Jersey. State authorities also contacted 19 club employees.
Some refuse to isolate
Trump has repeatedly downplayed the virus that has infected 7.4 million Americans. After signing COVID-19, he posted videos to reassure the public that he was recovering and returned to the White House on Monday from a hospital stay.
New Jersey officials asked people who attended the event Thursday to quarantine themselves and get tested, but their response was a “mixed bag,” Murphy said at a news conference.
U.S. Senate Republican candidate Rik Mehta continued his campaign instead of isolating himself after attending the event, Murphy said, claiming this should disqualify him.
“The only one who should be banned from public office is you @GovMurphy,” Mehta said on Twitter. He did not respond to a request for comment.
Katherine Hermes, a business owner who attended the fundraiser, announced on Facebook that she had no plans to quarantine.
“I don’t do that because I’m perfectly healthy,” she said. She did not respond to a request for comment.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)