- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 8, 2020

President Trump on Thursday said it is not surprising he caught coronavirus because it is sometimes impossible for him to tell people to keep their distance, citing a late-September event in which the families of fallen soldiers came “within an inch of my face.”

“Sometimes, I’d be in groups of, for instance, Gold Star families. I met with Gold Star families. I didn’t want to cancel that,” he told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo. “But they all came in, and they all talked about their son and daughter and father. And, you know, they all came up to me, and they tell me a story.”

He said he went through about “35 people” who shared their heartbreaking stories of sons or other family members who died in battle.

“I can’t back up, Maria, and say, ‘Give me room, I want room. Give me 12 feet. Stay 12 feet away when you talk,’” he said. “They come within an inch of my face, sometimes. They want to hug me and they want to kiss me and they do. And frankly, I’m not telling them to back up. I’m not doing it.”

It’s unclear where or how Mr. Trump, who tested positive on Oct. 1, got the coronavirus. The White House also hasn’t said when he last tested negative.

Mr. Trump seems to be doing much better after spending three days in a military hospital and returning to the White House on Monday.

Mr. Trump and first lady Melania Trump held the Gold Star ceremony on the first floor of the White House residence on Sept. 27, one day after a Rose Garden event to unveil Mr. Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Many pundits are eyeing the Rose Garden event, given a number of infections tied to it, though the Gold Star event is attracting new scrutiny. A Coast Guard admiral who attended later tested positive, leading top military brass to quarantine after having been in contact with him.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, was incredulous at the president’s comments about the Gold Star event and demanded he release more information about the timeline of his diagnosis.

“Can you believe that? That he would say such a thing?” she said. “Let us see a date, a time, that you last tested negative.”

• Gabriella Muñoz contributed to this report.

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