For some high-dollar Trump donors, Bedminster hobnobbing now means COVID tests

Kayleigh McEnany and Jared Kushner were stopped from attending, sources say.

October 04, 2020, 6:02 AM

Several supporters of President Donald Trump who just days before had been toasting him at a fundraiser at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club said they are now quarantining themselves and going for coronavirus tests.

About 100 guests attended the event with some donating $50,000 to snap photos with the president on Thursday and roughly 20 sat with him at an hour-long roundtable discussion. Several said the president's diagnosis and hospitalization have been both bewildering and frightening. Four people at the club that day told ABC News they are quarantining or getting tests.

"I stayed 6 feet away from the president at all times as well, but out of an abundance of caution have quarantined myself until I can be tested," said Daniel Hux, who attended the fundraiser, said in a statement to ABC News.

Campaign officials and a number of those who attended continue to maintain that Trump kept a safe buffer between himself and the guests, who spent as much as $250,000 to attend the exclusive fundraiser with the president. Several of those interviewed by ABC News said they never saw anyone within 6 feet of the president -- even those who waited on line to enter the Bedminster club house to pose for photos with him.

"When that photo was taken, all the event staff were wearing masks, all the campaign staff were wearing masks, Secret Service was wearing masks," said Charlie Kolean, who plans to get tested on Sunday.

"And I've been [self-quarantining] in a responsible manner," he added.

Others who did not get as close to the president said they weren't concerned. Katherine Hermes told ABC News she was never within 50 feet of the president.

"Why would I get tested?" Hermes, who paid $2,600 for a ticket, previously told ABC News. "I was nowhere near the president," she said, adding she was not experiencing symptoms.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump boards Marine One to travel to a fundraiser at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in Morristown, N.J.
President Donald Trump boards Marine One to travel to a fundraiser at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in Morristown, N.J.
Evan Vucci/AP

The timeline of the president's illness remains murky and it is still unclear how much Trump and his team knew about his illness on Thursday afternoon when he boarded Marine One for the trip to Bedminster.

One of his closest aides, Hope Hicks, began experiencing symptoms on Wednesday. She was quarantining and sources tell ABC News she had received a positive test Thursday morning. White House officials, however, said they learned of her positive test around 1 p.m., just as Marine One was departing for the president's short trip to New Jersey. Several advisers who were initially scheduled to travel with Trump to Bedminster, including Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, senior aide Dan Scavino and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, were told at the last minute to remain at the White House, sources told ABC News.

The president's initial symptoms surfaced sometime on Wednesday evening while Hicks was already quarantining. He appeared fatigued, according to sources familiar with his condition, which they initially attributed to his break-neck schedule. Marine One lifted off from Bedminster at 4:23 p.m. on Thursday. Trump's first positive test came later that evening after he was back at the White House.

When pressed by ABC News' George Stephanopoulos about why the event still went forward, chief campaign spokesperson Jason Miller highlighted precautions like temperature checks used at the event, but said, "what I can't, speak to since I'm not part of White House operations, I'm not part of the White House medical unit -- is the exact, how much time he was spending with Hope [Hicks] and in the proximity for these things. I can't speak to that, I gotta let the White House go do that."

Those who attended the gathering at Bedminster and spoke with reporters said they saw no indication that the president was sick. Several, like Hermes, said they remained unfazed by the possibility that Trump could have exposed people at the event.

PHOTO: Golfers play golf at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. With just a month to go until the election, President Donald Trump had a busy schedule in the week before the coronavirus hit home with him.
Golfers play golf at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. With just a month to go until the election, President Donald Trump had a busy schedule in the week before the coronavirus hit home with him.
Seth Wenig/AP

"I don't know about all that," she said when asked about the timeline of the diagnosis. "He looked awesome, he was smiling, he was happy."

Health officials in New Jersey are not taking any chances. On Friday, Bedminster Mayor Larry Jacobs said in a statement the county health department had started contact tracing to determine if anyone was exposed during the event and "anticipates full cooperation from the Trump Organization and from all those who attended the event."

Somerset County officials also said on Friday they were working on contact tracing the event, and had reached out to the Trump National Golf Course to request lists of staff and guests who were in attendance. ABC News reached out to Somerset County to see if the Trump Organization is cooperating, but have not heard back.

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