Minn. congressmen test negative for coronavirus after traveling with Trump Wednesday

President Donald Trump claps his hands as he heads back to Air Force One at the conclusion of Wednesday's campaign stop at the Duluth International Airport. Trump tested positive for the coronavirus Thursday night and is currently under self quarantine. (Clint Austin/
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ST. PAUL — Just over a day after hosting a campaign rally attended by thousands in Duluth, President Donald Trump says he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for coronavirus .

Three Minnesota congressmen were traveling with him in recent days , as Trump rallied with thousands of supporters in Duluth and held a private fundraiser in Shorewood, Minn., on Wednesday, Sept. 30. The congressmen were tested for the virus Friday morning and say they have received negative results Friday afternoon, Oct. 2.

The president tweeted the news of the positive COVID-19 tests early morning on Friday, Oct. 2, saying, “We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately.” Trump’s positive test comes shortly after White House staffer Hope Hicks tested positive. Reuters reports that Hicks traveled with the president on Air Force One Tuesday and Wednesday.

Three Minnesota Congressmen — U.S. Reps. Jim Hagedorn (CD1), Tom Emmer (CD6) and Pete Stauber (CD8) — traveled on Air Force One with the president Wednesday from Washington, D.C., to Minnesota, as well as by motorcade. They were also scheduled to fly back to D.C. with the president, as well.


On Friday afternoon, Hagedorn — who has stage four kidney cancer — Emmer and Stauber each announced via news release that their latest coronavirus tests, administered by the U.S. House's attending physician that morning, had come back negative the same day. Health experts say the coronavirus can take up to two weeks to incubate and result in a positive test, though. The three congressmen said in Friday morning statements that they were not exhibiting symptoms, and none specified whether they planned to self-quarantine.

While in Minnesota on Wednesday, Trump also held a private conversation with Minnesota state Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, upon landing in Minneapolis on Sept. 30 . Former congressman and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Jason Lewis was also present. The four Republicans were unmasked, but outside and several feet apart.

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U.S. Senate candidate Jason Lewis, left, Minnesota House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka converse with President Donald Trump outside of Air Force One in Minneapolis on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020. (Sarah Mearhoff / Forum News Service)

Prior to Trump's rally in Duluth, he attended a private, closed-press fundraiser in Shorewood, Minn., according to KTSP . As of Friday afternoon, it remains unclear who and how many people total attended the event, hosted by Cambria CEO Marty Davis, and what health precautions were taken.

Ian Fury, a spokesperson for South Dakota's Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, told Forum News Service Friday that Noem — a Trump ally — attended the Shorewood fundraiser. He said she tested negative for the virus Tuesday night, and she "was not a close contact of anyone who has tested positive."

Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan said in a Friday statement that she did not attend any events involving Trump on Wednesday "due to a busy campaign schedule that took me to other parts of the state." She had called a 9 a.m. news conference Friday, Oct. 2, to discuss the president's diagnosis, then abruptly canceled it with no plans to reschedule.

Carnahan's husband is Hagedorn, who did travel on Air Force One with the president Wednesday.


"We wish our President, First Lady, Hope Hicks and any others impacted a speedy recovery to good health," Carnahan said on behalf of the state party.

A Minnesota House Republican staffer told Forum News Service early Friday that Daudt had not at that point been contacted by the White House about the president's positive test and had not been advised to quarantine. Later Friday morning, Daudt himself said in a written statement he is not experiencing symptoms, but would take another coronavirus test Friday after having tested negative Tuesday, Sept. 29. He said he is self-quarantining until he receives his results.

Daudt did not attend Wednesday afternoon's fundraiser in Shorewood.

A Minnesota Senate spokesperson also said Friday that Gazelka "is feeling fine this morning." He will self-quarantine and take a coronavirus test, she said.

Christine Bauman, a spokesperson for Lewis's Senate campaign, said in a written statement Friday that the Republican candidate is not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19 after his contact with the president, "but out of an abundance of caution he has already begun the self quarantine process and will be getting COVID tested as soon as possible."

The Duluth Fire Department estimates that approximately 3,000 attended Trump’s outdoor campaign rally Wednesday night.

Last month, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz wrote to Trump and Biden's presidential campaigns urging them to comply with coronavirus restrictions during their campaign stops in the state.


In a letter, the first-term Democratic-Farmer-Labor governor asked that the events follow state guidelines that include wearing masks in indoor spaces, limiting the number of people gathered in a space and maintaining 6 feet between attendees.

At an unrelated Friday morning event at the state Department of Revenue, Walz offered his "thoughts and prayers" to Trump and the first lady, wishing them "the best care and a speedy recovery."

"We certainly stand with them and I think here in Minnesota, with over 2,000 of our neighbors who have died because of COVID-19 and 100,000 confirmed positive cases, we understand how serious this can be and that getting a test and getting diagnosed and getting the proper treatment is absolutely key," Walz said.

Earlier Friday, Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Chair Ken Martin said in a statement that the party is "praying for (the president's and first lady's) health and the well-being of those they have come into contact with in the past few days." He said their testing positive "underscores the ongoing threat posed to us all by the coronavirus pandemic," and called on Minnesotans to "remain vigilant" and follow public health experts' guidelines in order to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Gallery: Trump in Duluth Sept. 30, hours ahead of positive COVID-19 test

Mearhoff is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. You can reach her at or 651-290-0707.
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