WASHINGTON (AFP) – United States (US) President Donald Trump’s teenage son Barron contracted the coronavirus, First Lady Melania Trump revealed on Wednesday in a shocking piece of news underlining how much the Republican President is struggling to divert attention away from the coronavirus pandemic in the final stages of his re-election fight.
Melania Trump wrote in a statement that after she and the President tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago, “Naturally my mind went immediately to our son.”
She said the 14-year-old, who goes to a private school near Washington, did not experience symptoms and has since tested negative.
“Barron Trump, you know, he had the COVID-19,” Trump said on Wednesday night at a rally in Iowa. “He had it such a short period of time I don’t even think he knew he had it.”
The news, which had been kept under wraps despite global attention on Trump’s own health, thrust public attention firmly back on the pandemic and in particular on an outbreak within the supposedly highly secure White House over the last two weeks.
Trump, who spent three nights in hospital but returned to a punishing schedule of pre-election rallies on Monday, has been trying to move voters away from the subject in the closing 20 days of his campaign against Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden.
“Barron’s fine,” Trump told reporters earlier at the White House as he left for the rally in Iowa. Then he abruptly switched to his preferred subject of the expected confirmation by Senate Republicans of his conservative nominee for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett.
Trump and Biden will duel in an unusual manner when they hold separate but simultaneous town hall events on major TV networks.
The competing prime time appearances were organised after a head-to-head debate between Trump and Biden was scrapped in the aftermath of Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis.