Here’s How and When Each Network Broke the News that Trump and First Lady Contracted the Coronavirus

By A.J. Katz 

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for the coronavirus. This came after the White House announced earlier on Thursday that the president would be embarking on a quarantine after his top aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for the virus.

MSNBC breaking news anchor Brian Williams broke the news to MSNBC viewers at 12:55 a.m. ET, one minute after the president tweeted the news.

“It looks like the President of the United States has tested positive for covid-19. the statement just out: ‘we will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately.’ The president and first lady have tested positive for the coronavirus. This puts us in all new territory…”

At 1:02 a.m. ET, NBC News broke into regularly scheduled programming with a Special Report—a simulcast of Williams’ coverage on MSNBC.

The president of the United States has tested positive for the coronavirus after a top aide of his tested positive as well. It also applies to the first lady, Melania Trump.

Good evening, we are coming to you on the NBC Television network in addition to live continuing coverage all night long on MSNBC. This was becoming suspected as the evening went along. we heard the news about Hope Hicks, long time aide to this president and this west wing, testing positive herself and showing at least mild symptoms already of the coronavirus. hope hicks in that very tight inner circle around the president. there are few if any aides any closer to Donald Trump.

Dr. Vin Gupta, MSNBC medical contributor, joined Williams minutes after news broke.

Williams remained on air for MSNBC until 2 a.m. ET, when Ali Velshi took over and anchored throughout the night, before giving way to Kasie Hunt at 5 a.m. ET.

CNN International anchor Robyn Curnow broke the news on CNN at 1 a.m. ET.

Welcome to all of our viewers here in the united states and all around the world, I am Robyn Curnow. I want to give you this breaking news coming out of Washington. Donald Trump tweeted he’s tested positive for coronavirus. This comes after Hope Hicks, she tested positive for the last 24 hours. We’ll continue to monitor her progress but it is clearly now, all eyes focus on the President tested positive for Covid.

Don Lemon took over for Curnow shortly thereafter in the 1 a.m. ET hour.

Lemon passed the baton to Anderson Cooper at 3 a.m. ET. Cooper remained on air until 6 a.m. ET, when CNN New Day took over.

Cooper was joined by Dr. Sanjay Gupta throughout the evening, and by a plethora of medical experts and White House correspondents, notably Kaitlan Collins.

ABC News broke into regularly scheduled programming with a special report at 1:07 a.m. ET. World News Now and America This Morning Kenneth Moton anchored.

We are interrupting our normal programming to bring you the breaking news that President Trump and the first lady have tested positive for the coronavirus. Again, President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the covid-19.


ABC News’ special report ran until 2 a.m. ET, and was followed by a special edition of World News Now and an updated Nightline at 3:35 a.m. ET.

World News Now and America This Morning co-anchors Kenneth Moton and Mona Kosar Abdi anchored the special report with reporting from chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz, chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, chief business and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, senior White House correspondent Cecilia Vega, chief medical correspondent Jennifer Ashton, medical contributor Dr. Todd Ellerin, White House producer Jordyn Phelps and senior editorial producer John Santucci.

CBS News aired a crawl at 1:30 a.m. The network also aired a special report for the West Coast-only at 10:33 p.m. PT with Pat Harvey from the CBS station KCBS.

CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang reported the latest developments at the top of KCBS’s 11 p.m. newscast.

CBSN went live at 2:05 a.m. ET with a feed from CBSN L.A. CBSN continued its coverage into the morning.

CBS’ East Coast stations didn’t present coverage until 4 a.m., at the start of the CBS Morning News anchored by Anne Marie Green.


Fox News overnight anchor Ashley Strohmier began anchoring news of the positive test at 1:01 a.m. ET.

She was joined in the 1 a.m. ET hour for interviews by Fox News senior White House producer Kelly Chernenkoff, Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy, Sean Hannity, New York Medical College professor of medicine Dr. Bob Lahita, FNC medical correspondent Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel, Fox News @ Night’s Shannon Bream and former White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson.

In the 2 a.m. ET hour, Strohmier was joined by FNC correspondent Kevin Corke, Siegel, Doocy, Bream, FNC medical contributor Marty Makary, FNC correspondent Griff Jenkins and Lahita.

Beginning at 3 a.m. ET, FNC featured ongoing reports from Strohmier and Jenkins as well as interviews with Siegel, Jackson and Nesheiwat. Fox & Friends First co-hosts Jillian Mele and Todd Piro also participated.

Chris Wallace, who was in the presence of Trump less than 72 hours prior, gave his thoughts on Fox & Friends Friday morning. He got to “10, 12 feet,” but that the president had never approached him at the debate.

“What you saw on the TV is the closest I got to the president. … I’ve been trying to sort of go over it in my mind. It’s got to have been 10, 12 feet. He’d never approached me at the end of the debate. Vice President Biden did briefly to basically—I’m trying to remember the exact words basically to say, ‘I bet you didn’t know you had signed up for this.’ Obviously, it was an extremely contentious debate. I certainly saw no sign of any flagging of energy in the president and during the debate. As we all saw, he was loaded for bear.

I will say a couple of things just to give you a background and information I have that very few people probably did. Who you’re going to be talking to today did.

When we arrived in Cleveland, everybody, you had to take a test that was administered by the Cleveland Clinic. And it was one of those deep tests that goes all the way up your nostril, up, it seems, into the front part of your brain. So everybody that was in that [debate] hall had tested negative.

The interesting thing, though, however, was that the Cleveland Clinic would set up these safety rules, said that everybody in the hall, with the exception of the president, the vice president and myself, had to wear a mask.

When Mrs. Biden came in, when members of her party came in, they were all wearing masks and they kept them on throughout the debate.

On the Trump side of the hall, Mrs. Trump came in wearing a mask, but took it off when sat down. I didn’t see when they came in. But all the other members of the first family that I saw there, including Ivanka, Tiffany, when they sat down, they weren’t wearing masks.

I’m told by the pool of reporters who was there that somebody from the Cleveland Clinic came up to the first family. I believe this was before Mrs. Trump sat down and offered them masks in case they didn’t have them and they waved them away. And people in the hall did notice that while they were all wearing masks, including my wife and four of my children, that the first family did not wear masks during the debate.

When it ended, Mrs. Trump came up to go on the stage, as I think everybody saw. She was not wearing a mask.

Mrs. Biden did come up and she was wearing a mask as she came up past me and went up to her husband. But certainly there was no sign during the debate of any problems with the president in terms of his health.

But it is worth noting that there were the different people treated, the safety rules inside the hall differently.”