A Republican donor who attended President Donald Trump’s fundraiser in Bedminster, N.J., on Thursday said the president kept his distance from attendees — at least during the larger, outdoor portion of the event.
“First of all, he looked 100 percent normal,” John Sette, the former chair of the Morris County Republican Committee, told POLITICO in a phone interview Friday morning. “He spoke 100 percent normal. He spoke for about 15 minutes and he took questions for an hour.”
Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday.
Both The New York Times and New Jersey Globe have quoted others who attended the fundraiser at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster as saying the president appeared “lethargic” and “not himself” during the event. The Times also reported the president is experiencing mild symptoms.
Sette said the portion of the fundraiser he attended was outdoors. Food was served at separate stations with staff behind glass partitions, he said. Sette said he did not attend the roundtable portion of the event that was reserved for the most high-dollar donors, and did not take a photo with Trump.
The event was not heavily attended by New Jersey’s Republican political class. Sette said the only person he recognized was comedian and radio host Joe Piscopo, who in 2017 considered running for governor of New Jersey.
“The only person I knew was Joe Piscopo, because everybody knows Joe Piscopo,” he said.
Sette said that as far as he could tell, most of the attendees wore masks. He only saw Trump at the podium, so he did not know if he wore one during other portions of the event.
“He was far away from everybody,” Sette said.
Sette said he plans to get tested for Covid-19, but feels “fine,“ adding that he did not come in close contact with the president.
“I was 50 feet away from him,” he said.
The Washington Post reported Friday morning that Trump was in “close contact” with dozens of people at the high-dollar roundtable event. According to The Post, the White House was aware that Trump aide Hope Hicks, with whom the president had traveled to Bedminster, was exhibiting potential coronavirus symptoms before Trump held the fundraiser.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday morning urged those who attended the fundraiser to self-quarantine and get tested, adding that “the contact tracing process is underway.”