President Donald Trump suggested Thursday, October 8, 2020, that he might have contracted Covid-19 from Gold Star family members who were too close to him when telling stories of their loved ones who died in the line of duty.
In an interview on Fox Business, Trump told host Maria Bartiromo that he “figured there would be a chance” he would become infected with the coronavirus, citing his meetings with the families of America’s war dead.
“Sometimes, I’d be in groups of, for instance, Gold Star families. I met with Gold Star families. I didn’t want to cancel that,” he said. “But they all came in, and they all talk about their son and daughter and father. And, you know, they all came up to me, and they tell me a story.”
The president proceeded to recount some of those interactions.
He said the family members would approach him to “tell me a story about, ‘My son, sir, was in Iraq.’ Or, ‘He was in Afghanistan.’ And, ‘Sir, he did this, and he did that, and then he charged in order to save his friends.’ And, ‘Yes, sir, he was killed, but he saved his friends. He’s so brave, sir.’”
Trump explained that as he was being told these stories about fallen soldiers, “I can’t say, ‘Back up, stand 10 feet,’ you know? I just can’t do it.”
At one event, Trump claimed to have “went through, like 35 people” whose family members had died, “and everyone had a different story.”
“I can’t back up, Maria, and say, ‘Give me room. I want room. Give me 12 feet. Stay 12 feet away when you talk,’” he said.
The Gold Star family members “come within an inch of my face, sometimes,” Trump said. “They want to hug me, and they want to kiss me. And they do. And, frankly, I’m not telling them to back up. I’m not doing it.”
It is not known where exactly Trump contracted Covid-19, and the White House has refused to provide a definitive timeline of the president’s coronavirus tests in the days leading up to his diagnosis.
Apart from the meetings the president described Thursday, he has held large-scale campaign rallies in recent months where attendees do not practice social-distancing and many of his supporters do not wear face masks.