TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — Did President Donald Trump spread COVID-19 at a fundraiser in New Jersey last Thursday just hours before his positive test result was revealed? That’s what’s being investigated now.
Health officials say it’s right before symptoms appear when COVID-19 is most likely to be spread. The president was at his New Jersey golf club hours before he developed symptoms, that’s why there’s so much concern for the people at that event.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says the president’s event put lives at risk.
“It is clear that the president and his staff acted recklessly,” Murphy said.
Contact tracing efforts ARE underway following last week’s fundraising event with the President at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster. We are tracing:
☑️206 attendees at the two separate events
☑️19 staff members who were involved in both events
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) October 5, 2020
The governor blasted President Trump for holding a fundraiser at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, knowing he’d been in close contact with a staffer who tested positive for COVID-19.
Hours after the event on Oct. 1, the president announced he had the virus.
“To put it bluntly, the actions leading up to and during this event have put lives at risk,” said Murphy.
Health officials are now in the process of contacting the 206 guests and 19 staffers. They’re being advised to get tested this week. It usually takes five to seven days after exposure for the virus to become active.
“We are asking that all attendees quarantine for 14 days, especially those who are in close contact with either the president or a member of the staff,” Murphy said.
There were both indoor and outdoor gatherings at the Bedminster fundraiser where some donors gave a quarter of a million dollars to attend.
Katherine Hermès, who was there, says no one got close to the president.
“The closest anyone could possibly have been was probably 16 to 20 feet away. We were outside, a lot of people wore masks. Some people didn’t wear masks,” she said. “He spoke for about 10 or 15 and then he said I’ll answer questions.”
The governor says the event may have violated the state’s emergency regulations with too many people inside.
“This entire event and everything associated with it is troubling,” Murphy said. “I hope to God finally this gets through to everybody no matter where you live, no matter what your party that you got to do the right thing.”
The White House has said the president had been cleared to travel to New Jersey because he “wasn’t deemed to pose a threat.” Eyewitness News has reached out to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, they won’t confirm or deny an investigation.
Gov. Murphy said in addition to potential violations of gathering limitations, there are reports there was a buffet at the Trump event, which is also currently restricted.