New Jersey officials try to contact more than 200 people who attended Trump campaign event
Trying to contain spread of the coronavirus, New Jersey state health officials have contacted more than 200 people who attended a campaign fundraiser at the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster hours before President Trump announced he had the coronavirus.
Officials in Somerset County were also contacting employees who worked at Thursday’s event, most of whom live in the county. In a joint statement issued Sunday, the state and county officials asked guests and employees to monitor their symptoms and, if they were close to Trump or his staff, to quarantine for 14 days.
The Republican National Committee provided New Jersey officials with a list of the names and email addresses of at least 206 guests. The list “was not sufficient” for effective contact tracing because tracers need phone numbers to reach people quickly and addresses to understand which communities are affected, the Hackensack, N.J., Record quoted an anonymous source in Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration as saying. The list also did not include workers at the Bedminster club, the source said.
“From a quick scan of the list, many of these folks were from out of state,” the source said. New Jersey officials emailed all the guests, informing them of what steps to take and health resources if they live in New Jersey.
The state Department of Health, in partnership with the Somerset County Department of Health, received a list of about 20 names of staff members who worked at the fundraiser and is calling these workers to make sure they take the necessary precautions, the source said. The majority of the workers live in Somerset County, said Dawn Thomas, deputy director of the state Department of Health.
White House spokesman Judd Deere said the president had no contact with any donors or staff that “would be considered to be ‘close’ based on CDC guidelines” — contact lasting more than 15 minutes and within six feet.
“During the roundtable event and remarks, the president was more than six feet away from all participants,” he said.
When President Trump said he had tested positive for the coronavirus, he became ground zero for the most high-profile contact-tracing effort of the pandemic.
Dallas businessman Daniel Hux, who attended the event, said he was feeling fine Sunday and had just undergone another test, as he and other donors had before the fundraiser.
“I’m grateful our president engaged his supporters safely while at the event,” Hux said in a statement. ”My prayers are with our president and the first lady.”
Hux, who owns a mortgage company, declined to say where he had traveled in the interim. He said he was never within six feet of the president but was quarantining in case.
Dr. Rich Roberts, a pharmaceutical executive from New Jersey who made a video describing the event, said he sat a seat away from Trump during an indoor roundtable event, which he said involved about 19 people and lasted perhaps 45 minutes or more. Roberts did not return messages Sunday from the Associated Press about the video, which was posted on a local news site.
Since at least the 19th century, various U.S. presidents have misled the public as to their health, sometimes about illnesses that proved fatal.
Charlie Kolean, also from Dallas, said the coronavirus test he took upon returning home from New Jersey came back negative Sunday. He’ll take another one in a few days.
Kolean, who works in investments, said that, from what he noticed at the event, Trump campaign members were all masked and socially distant, as were Bedminster staff, who also wore gloves.
During the photo opportunity with the president, the 25-year-old said donors were required to stand six feet from the president on a marker taped to the floor.
“I know there were rumors of him being lethargic or tired,” Kolean said. “That was not the case at all at this event. He was very high-energy, happy to be there. I noticed no difference in his health from previous times I’ve seen him.”
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