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President Trump says Gold Star families could’ve given him coronavirus: ‘I’m not telling them to back up. I’m not doing it.’

President Donald J. Trump addresses his remarks at the reception to honor Gold Star Families Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

President Donald Trump says Gold Star families could have given him the coronavirus.

In a new interview on Fox Business, Trump said he’d had close contact — despite concerns about Covid-19 — with family members of loved ones who died in military conflict.

“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,” Trump said Thursday morning. “But they all came in, and they all talk about their son and daughter and father. And, you know, they all came up to me, and they tell me a story… ‘My son, sir, was in Iraq.’ Or, ‘He was in Afghanistan.’ And, ‘Sir, he did this, and he did that, and then he charged in order to save his friends.’ And, ‘Yes, sir, he was killed, but he saved his friends. He’s so brave, sir.’”

According to Politico, Trump said he met with “like 35 people” from Gold Star families and did not want to encourage social distancing.

“I can’t say, ‘Back up, stand 10 feet,’ you know? I just can’t do it,” he continued.

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Gold Star family members “come within an inch of my face, sometimes,” Trump said. “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.”

The White House has not said where Trump may have contracted the coronavirus, and has not said when Trump last tested negative for Covid-19. Trump said he had the virus Friday and spent nearly four days at Walter Reed military hospital for treatment.

At least 34 people connected to the White House have the coronavirus, according to a Wednesday memo obtained by ABC News, more than previously known. Others who tested positive for Covid-19 in recent days include first lady Melania Trump; Trump advisors Kellyanne Conway, Hope Hicks and Stephen Miller; White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany; Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien; RNC chair Ronna McDaniel; Republican senators Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin; former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was part of Trump’s presidential debate prep team; and two military leaders who were in a Joint Chiefs of Staff meeting last week.

Trump also said in the Fox Business interview that he’s “feeling good” and doesn’t think he is “contagious at all” any more. The CDC recommends people who are infected stay in isolation for 10 days after symptoms dissipate, and to continue wearing a mask and social distancing.

Trump has previously faced controversy over Gold Star families, including allegedly promising one $25,000 in cash while other families said he never reached out at all. During the 2016 election, he feuded with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a Muslim U.S. Army captain killed by a suicide bomber; Trump received bipartisan backlash and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Capt. Humayun Khan, awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart after he was killed in Iraq in 2004.

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© 2020 Syracuse Media Group