Charles Kolean, an investment industry worker from Dallas, was delighted to take a photo with President Donald Trump last week after the 25-year-old won a Republican fundraising contest.
This elation soon turned into shock.
On Monday, the young Republicans member from Dallas was isolating himself at his home to avoid potentially spreading the coronavirus after his exposure to Trump who tested positive last week, a day after the donor event.
“I was really surprised to hear this because he looked so healthy the night before,” Kolean said.
“I plan to quarantine myself for the full 14 days and have another COVID-19 test if I start having symptoms,” he added. He has tested negative since returning home, and Trump’s presidential campaign and New Jersey officials have contacted him about his potential exposure.
Kolean was among about 60 VIPs, on a guest list of about 200, at Thursday’s event at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Guests typically donated between $ 5,600 and $ 250,000 to Trump’s presidential bid for re-election to secure an invitation. They nibbled on small bites of steak and lamb passed on platters by masked and gloved servers.
Participants contacted by Reuters said safety protocols for participants relied on rapid coronavirus testing.
VIP attendees, who were allowed to get close to Trump, were tested on entry for the virus, then waited in their cars for the results. After testing negative, Kolean and his friend, mortgage industry executive Daniel Hux, greeted Trump privately, keeping 6 feet apart, but were not allowed to shake his hand. The group has moved outside for Trump’s remarks.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday called the event reckless because Trump knew Hope Hicks, a senior adviser who had accompanied him to Cleveland for a presidential debate earlier last week, had been 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 in New Jersey emailed 184 of 206 fundraising participants using a list provided by the RNC. About half of the guests were from New Jersey. State authorities have also contacted 19 club staff.
Some refuse to isolate
Trump has repeatedly played down the virus that has infected 7.4 million Americans. After contracting COVID-19, he posted videos to reassure the public that he was recovering, and he returned to the White House after a hospital stay on Monday.
New Jersey officials asked people who attended Thursday’s event to self-quarantine and get tested, but their response was “mixed,” Murphy said at a press conference.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rik Mehta continued to campaign rather than isolate himself after attending the event, Murphy said, saying it should disqualify him.
“The only one who should be disqualified from public service 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, posted on Facebook that she had no plans to quarantine.
“I’m not doing anything like this because I’m perfectly healthy,” she says. She did not respond to a request for comment.
(This story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)