Trump Tested Positive for Covid Days Before Debating Biden, Subsequently Tested Negative

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows revealed the pre-debate positive test in a new book, which Trump on Wednesday called “fake news"

Drew Angerer

Former President Donald Trump tested positive for Covid three days before his first presidential debate against Joe Biden, with a subsequent pre-debate test coming back negative, three sources familiar with the matter confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday.

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows revealed Trump's positive test in a new book, first reported by The Guardian, which cited an excerpt. In the book, Meadows said Trump seemed “a little tired” and suspected he might have a “slight cold” ahead of finding out about the positive result while on his way to a rally in Pennsylvania. Trump tested positive again on Oct. 1 and was hospitalized the next day. The debate was held on Sept. 29.

In a statement, Trump denied that he was sick at the time of the first positive result. "The story of me having COVID prior to, or during, the first debate is Fake News," Trump said. "In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID prior to the debate.”

Meadows said they performed a second test while Trump was still en route to Pennsylvania that came back negative, the newspaper reported. NBC News has not seen a copy of Meadows' memoir to independently verify the report.

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