New Jersey Governor: Trump fundraiser ‘put lives at risk’

President Donald Trump’s fundraiser at his Bedminster golf club hours before he announced he had contracted the coronavirus was wrong and “put lives at risk,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday.

Murphy called the trip the “wrong decision at every level” and said it should have been canceled. He said the state is trying to keep tabs on the 206 attendees and 19 workers in an effort to thwart a potential outbreak stemming from the gathering Thursday.

Guests at that event said it included a photo opportunity with Trump and an indoor roundtable with him that one attendee said lasted 45 minutes or more.

19 PHOTOSPresident Trump's supporters outside the Walter Reed hospitalSee GalleryPresident Trump's supporters outside the Walter Reed hospitalBETHESDA, MD – OCTOBER 04: Young supporters hold up signs wishing President Donald Trump good health outside of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after the President was admitted for treatment of COVID-19 on October 4, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. The President announced via Twitter early Friday morning that he had tested positive. Numerous other prominent GOP figures and members of Congress have also tested positive in the last few days. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)President Donald Turmp supporters gather outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump was admitted to the hospital after contracting COVID-19. (AP Photo/Anthony Peltier)Supporters of President Donald Trump drive past the entrance to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump went to the hospital Friday after testing positive for COVID-19.(AP Photo/Cliff Owen)BETHESDA, MD – OCTOBER 04: President Donald Trump supporters gather outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday October 04, 2020 in Bethesda, MD. Trump flew to Walter Reed on Friday as he battles Covid-19. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)BETHESDA, MD – OCTOBER 04: A supporter of President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as they drive by fellow supporters as they gather outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday October 04, 2020 in Bethesda, MD. Trump flew to Walter Reed on Friday as he battles Covid-19. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)BETHESDA, MD – OCTOBER 04: Supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where the President was admitted for treatment of COVID-19 on October 4, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. The President announced via Twitter early Friday morning that he had tested positive. Numerous other prominent GOP figures and members of Congress have also tested positive in the last few days. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)Supporters of President Donald Trump demonstrate without face masks at the entrance to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump was admitted to the hospital Friday after contracting the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)Supporters of President Donald Trump, most not wearing masks, gather and hold signs near an entrance to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump went to the hospital Friday after testing positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)President Donald Trump supporters gather outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump was admitted to the hospital after contracting COVID-19. (AP Photo/Anthony Peltier)President Donald Turmp supporters gather outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump was admitted to the hospital after contracting COVID-19. (AP Photo/Anthony Peltier)BETHESDA, MD – OCTOBER 04: President Donald Trump supporters gather outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Sunday October 04, 2020 in Bethesda, MD. Trump flew to Walter Reed on Friday as he battles Covid-19. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)President Donald Turmp supporters gather outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. Trump was admitted to the hospital after contracting COVID-19. (AP Photo/Anthony Peltier)Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump’s sand sculpture is seen with their health recovery message as it is creating by sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik at the Bay of Bengal Sea’s eastern coast beach at Puri, 65 km away from the eastern Indian state Odisha’s capital city Bhubaneswar,on October 04, 2020. (Photo by STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)04 October 2020, US, Bethesda: Dan Golden, a supporter of US President Donald Trump, stands with a flag opposite the entrance to the Walter Reed Military Hospital. Donald Trump, who was infected with the corona virus together with his wife Melania, was transferred to the hospital on Friday. Photo: Can Merey/dpa (Photo by Can Merey/picture alliance via Getty Images)BETHESDA, MD – OCTOBER 04: Supporters of President Donald Trump honk their horn and wave the national flag as they drive past Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where the President was admitted for treatment of COVID-19 on October 4, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. The President announced via Twitter early Friday morning that he had tested positive. Numerous other prominent GOP figures and members of Congress have also tested positive in the last few days. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)BETHESDA, MD – OCTOBER 04: A man poses for a photo next to a cardboard cutout of First Lady Melania Trump outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where President Donald Trump and the First Lady where admitted for treatment of COVID-19 on October 4, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. The President announced via Twitter early Friday morning that he had tested positive. Numerous other prominent GOP figures and members of Congress have also tested positive in the last few days. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)BETHESDA, MD – OCTOBER 04: Supporters of President Donald Trump honk their horn and wave the national flag as they drive past Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where the President was admitted for treatment of COVID-19 on October 4, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. The President announced via Twitter early Friday morning that he had tested positive. Numerous other prominent GOP figures and members of Congress have also tested positive in the last few days. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)BETHESDA, MD – OCTOBER 04: Supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where the President was admitted for treatment of COVID-19 on October 4, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. The President announced via Twitter early Friday morning that he had tested positive. Numerous other prominent GOP figures and members of Congress have also tested positive in the last few days. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)BETHESDA, MD – OCTOBER 04: A police officer pushes back a supporter of President Donald Trump who ran up to the window of a car to yell at a woman that said Black Lives Matter outside of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after the President was admitted for treatment of COVID-19 on October 4, 2020 in Bethesda, Maryland. The President announced via Twitter early Friday morning that he had tested positive. Numerous other prominent GOP figures and members of Congress have also tested positive in the last few days. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)Up Next

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“The actions leading up to and following this event have put lives at risk,” Murphy said at an afternoon news conference. “This is very much a race against the clock.”

Murphy, a Democrat, made several television appearances Monday, saying state and federal officials were still working on contact tracing and had reached most of the guests. He urged anyone at the club while the president was there to quarantine for two weeks.

“If you think you’ve been in touch or in the midst of someone who is COVID positive you’ve got to take yourself off the field,” he said. “This borders on reckless in terms of exposing people.”

The president attended a campaign fundraiser at his Trump National Golf Course on Thursday afternoon after disclosing that a close aide tested positive for the virus. Murphy said the gathering may have violated state rules on large gatherings during the pandemic.

However, White House spokesman Judd Deere said the president didn’t have any contact with donors or staff that would be considered close, based on the CDC guidelines of longer than 15 minutes and within 6 feet.

But Dr. Rich Roberts, a pharmaceutical executive from New Jersey who made a video describing the event, said he sat a seat away from Trump during the indoor roundtable.

Rich said the event involved about 19 people and lasted perhaps 45 minutes. Roberts did not return messages Sunday seeking comment about the video, which was posted on a local news site, The Lakewood Scoop.

John Sette, the former Republican chairman of Morris County, said he felt the event was safely run. Sette, 73, attended only the outdoor portion of the event, when the president spoke to supporters at a distance from a patio.

Sette feels fine, but saw his doctor and plans to be tested Wednesday “just for my own satisfaction.” He said he was happy to be contacted by tracers, because it shows the system is working.

“It was very well run, If I didn’t think it was safe, I wouldn’t have stayed,” said Sette, who said he wore a mask and has not seen many people, including his grandchildren in Florida, since February.

“Millions of people have it,” said Sette, noting the related hospitalization of former Gov. Chris Christie, a friend. “It’s a terrible, terrible thing. Hopefully, we’ll get through it.”

Of the 206 guests at the event, Murphy said, 184 have been contacted by health officials in New Jersey. Many people reacted positively to the outreach, but some questioned where the state got their contact information from and were “not so positive,” said Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.

“We are overwhelmingly in need of more federal support,” Murphy said.

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