Fact Check

Did Trump Say He 'Tested Very Positively' for COVID-19, Meaning Negative?

Is the president trying to confuse us?

Published May 22, 2020

US President Donald Trump  holds a mask as he speaks during a tour of the Ford Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan on May 21, 2020. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images) ( BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Image Via BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump said he "tested very positively" for COVID-19, meaning his test results came back negative, and he did not have the coronavirus disease.

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In late May 2020, readers searched the Snopes.com website questioning the veracity of a statement attributed to U.S. President Donald Trump, as quoted in a widely shared tweet posted by Washington Post journalist Felicia Sommez:

Sommez's tweet accurately captures Trump's statement regarding his diagnostic test result amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Trump made the remark on May 21, 2020, on the South Lawn of the White House, as he was about to depart on Marine One for Michigan, where he toured a Ford manufacturing facility. Trump was responding to a reporter who asked how long the president expected to take hydroxychloroquine, a drug that Trump has been promoting as a potential treatment for COVID-19 without medical evidence for its safety or efficacy.

Here is a transcription of the exchange between the reporter and Trump, per WhiteHouse.gov:

Q Sir, how long do you expect take hydroxychloroquine?

THE PRESIDENT: I think it’s another day. I had a two-week regimen of hydroxychloroquine. And I’ve taken it, I think, just about two weeks. I think it’s another day. And I’m still here. I’m still here. And I tested very positively in a — in another sense.

So, this morning —

Q Negatively?

THE PRESIDENT: Yeah. I tested positively toward negative, right? So, no, I tested perfectly this morning, meaning — meaning I tested negative.

Q Have you taken the antibody test yet?

THE PRESIDENT: But that’s a way of saying it: positively toward the negative.

Q Have you taken the antibody test yet, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I have not.

Because Trump did make the comment and it was reflected accurately by the tweet in question, we rate this claim "Correct Attribution."


WhiteHouse.gov. "Remarks by President Trump Before Marine One Departure."   21 May 2020.

Mangan, Dan and Steve Kopack. "Trump Doesn’t Wear Coronavirus Mask in Public at Ford Plant."   CNBC. 21 May 2020.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more

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