Attendees of President Trump’s fundraiser in New Jersey expressed few public concerns about contracting COVID-19 despite potential exposure to the virus during the commander-in-chief’s re-election event.
Rik Mehta, a pharmacist and attorney who is running for the U.S. Senate against Democratic incumbent Cory Booker, said he attended the event but did not come into contact with the president, who spoke outdoors to socially distanced, mask-wearing guests.
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“He looked great, he was charismatic and energetic,” Mehta tweeted. “I wish him and the First lady well and I’m confident they will make a full recovery!”
Mehta told NJ.com that he would get tested for the coronavirus “out of an abundance of caution,” but said he was “not concerned even in the slightest.”
John Sette, former chairman of the Morris County Republican Party, estimated that about 300 people attended the event. Tickets cost as much as $250,000. During the event, Sette said he was about 100 feet from the president, who he described as looking “100% normal.” Trump spoke for 15 minutes and took questions for an hour.
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“I spoke to my doctor this morning and he said, ‘Don’t worry about it,’” Sette told NJ.com. “’If you feel sick, call me.’”
While the event was largely outdoors, Trump did meet with a small group indoors for about 45 minutes to an hour, according to philanthropist and GOP donor Rich Roberts. Roberts told The Lakewood Scoop, a local news site, that about 19 people were seated at a rectangular table around the president.
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Guests did not wear masks during the roundtable discussion, Roberts said during a separate interview with the Asbury Park Press. Roberts said he did not intend to be tested for COVID-19, but will be quarantining at his home.
Trump announced early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump had contracted COVID-19. The president was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center later that evening “out of an abundance of caution,” the White House said.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, urged people who attended the gathering at Trump’s Bedminster golf club to get tested. State health officials have already started the contact tracing process, and the health department has said it asked the club for a list of attendees to identify who may have come in contact with Trump.
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“We urge everyone who attended yesterday’s event in Bedminster to take full precautions, including self-quarantining and getting tested,” the governor said in a statement on Friday morning.
The median incubation period for the virus is five days, according to infectious disease experts. The CDC recommends that anyone who knows they were exposed to the virus should quarantine at home for 14 days; separate themselves from others and monitor their health.