Chief of Staff: Trump's Blood Oxygen Level Hit 86%

In new book, Mark Meadows says Trump's COVID case got scarier than was revealed
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2021 9:11 AM CST
Updated Dec 7, 2021 1:34 AM CST
Chief of Staff: Trump Had One Positive Test Ahead of Debate
President Donald Trump, right, and first lady Melania Trump, left, accompanied by Britain's Prince Andrew, leave after a tour of Westminster Abbey in London, June 3, 2019.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

(Newser) Update: Donald Trump's blood oxygen level dropped to about 86%, 10 points or so below what is considered normal, within hours of announcing he'd tested positive for COVID-19 last year, according to his former chief of staff. The New York Times has more details from Mark Meadows' book, out Tuesday, which also claims Trump first tested positive for the coronavirus six days prior to his announcement. Trump has in the past denied that his COVID case was more serious than White House medical officials have acknowledged. Sources say Trump is angry at "dumb" Meadows. Our original story from Dec. 1 follows:

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On Oct. 2, 2020, the world learned that President Trump had tested positive for COVID-19, with the White House saying the public was told just an hour after Trump was. In a new book, Trump's former chief of staff says Trump actually first tested positive six days prior, though he admits that initial positive test was recorded via an older model testing kit, and that a follow-up test using a newer model came back negative. In The Chief’s Chief, which is out next week, Mark Meadows writes that in preparation for the first debate between the president and Joe Biden, scheduled for Sept. 29, both men had to be tested within 72 hours of the start time.

Meadows says Trump tested positive on Sept. 26, but "Nothing was going to stop [Trump] from going out there." In Meadows' telling, Trump subsequently submitted the negative result from a different test. Meadows says he was the one who initially conveyed the positive test results to Trump, whose reply, "rhyme[d] with 'Oh spit, you’ve gotta be trucking lidding me.'" He also told Trump they would repeat the test using the Binax system. The Guardian, which obtained a copy of the book, calls it a "stunning revelation." Trump used a different term in a statement: "The story of me having COVID prior to, or during, the first debate is Fake News. In fact, a test revealed that I did not have COVID prior to the debate." (Read more President Trump stories.)

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