Live update Oct 3, 2020: Trump expected to head to Walter Reed hospital after positive test; Biden tests negative for coronavirus
Robert Reich @RBReich
“Shh don’t tell the Republicans, but at Walter Reed they have socialized medicine.”
President Trump is expected to be taken to Walter Reed Medical Center Friday afternoon according to two administration officials, less then 24-hours after testing positive for the deadly coronavirus.
Earlier today, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters that Trump is experiencing “mild symptoms” after he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus. The first lady said on Twitter that she, too, has “mild symptoms” but is “overall feeling good.” Trump will postpone or make virtual all of his previously scheduled campaign events, his campaign manager said Friday.
Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign announced that Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, have both tested negative for the coronavirus.
With 32 days until the election …
- The president’s infection has upended the campaign. A fundraiser in Washington and a rally in Florida were scrapped, and Trump plans to remain in self-isolation at the White House. His campaign manager said all previously scheduled events involving Trump or his family would be postponed or changed to virtual events.
- Democratic nominee Joe Biden wished Trump and the first lady a “swift recovery” in a morning tweet. He is scheduled to campaign in Michigan on Friday.
- Vice President Pence and his wife have tested negative, according to a spokesman.
- Photos and video: Tracking Trump’s movements before his positive coronavirus test
- Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who attended Trump’s announcement Saturday of his Supreme Court pick, said he has tested positive for the coronavirus and will self-isolate for 10 days.
- Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel disclosed that she had tested positive.
- How to vote in your state: The Post’s guide to registering and casting your ballot.
President Trump, Melania Trump Test Positive for COVID-19
By Marina Pitofsky, Jesse Byrnes and Lauren Vella, Oct 2, 2020 | Original The Hill article here.
President DONALD JOHN TRUMPand first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus, the White House physician announced late Thursday, underscoring major challenges facing the country as it seeks to contain the pandemic while raising new uncertainty surrounding the country’s leadership weeks before the election.
Presidential physician Sean Conley said in a memo released by the White House late Thursday night that President Trump and the first lady "are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence."
"The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our country’s greatest medical professionals and institutions. Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any future developments," .
The White House uses Abbott rapid response tests, with the first couple receiving their COVID-19 results after being tested earlier in the day.
The announcement came hours after news broke that White House adviser and top aide to the president Hope Hicks tested positive for the disease. Both Hicks and the president had been together on Air Force One in Cleveland for the presidential debate as well as a campaign rally in Minnesota on Wednesday.
News of Hicks’s COVID-19 status raised questions about whether others would test positive for the virus, with the president and first lady both saying Thursday night that they would quarantine while awaiting their results.
President Trump took to Twitter just before 1 a.m. on Friday to confirm that he and his wife had tested positive, with the White House also releasing the memo from his physician confirming their diagnoses.
Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
October 2, 2020
The first lady also tweeted early Friday to note that like "too many" other Americans she and her husband would have to quarantine after testing positive for the disease.
“We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together,” Melania Trump wrote.
As too many Americans have done this year, @potus & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19. We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS)
October 2, 2020
Vice President Pence tweeted around 2 a.m. Friday morning that he and second lady Karen Pence were sending "our love and prayers to our dear friends President @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS Melania Trump."
"We join millions across America praying for their full and swift recovery. God bless you President Trump & our wonderful First Lady Melania," he added.
Karen and I send our love and prayers to our dear friends President @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS Melania Trump. We join millions across America praying for their full and swift recovery. God bless you President Trump & our wonderful First Lady Melania.
October 2, 2020
More than 7.2 million people in the U.S. have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. More than 207,000 have died while over 2.8 million have recovered, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
“The strength of the entire country is with President @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted early Friday morning.
America stands united.
Our country stands strong.
Your President will continue to put the People first!
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec)
October 2, 2020
President Trump, the first lady and Hicks’s positive diagnoses add to the number of White House and administration staff who have contracted the disease since the start of the pandemic.
Other officials have tested positive in past months, including Pence’s communications director Katie Miller and national security adviser Robert O’Brien. In addition, a valet for the president had also tested positive for COVID-19.
The White House issued a schedule for the president for Friday after he confirmed the test results. The president is still scheduled to hold a call “on COVID-19 support to vulnerable seniors.”
President Trump will not travel to Sanford, Fla., to hold a scheduled campaign rally on Friday. The White House did not immediately issue any additional information on the president or the first lady’s long-term schedules following the results of their coronavirus tests.
Aides to the president told The Washington Post that his political events will be canceled for the foreseeable future.
It is unclear at this point the full extent to which the virus has impacted the Trump administration and who will be tested for COVID-19.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has tested negative "every day this week," his spokesman Ben Williamson told The Hill early Friday morning.
A White House official told The Hill on Thursday night that contact tracing has been done following Hicks’s diagnosis, "and the appropriate notifications and recommendations have been made."
Deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement:
"White House Operations collaborates with the Physician to the President and the White House Military Office to ensure all plans and procedures incorporate current CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible both on complex and when the President is traveling,"
The Hill has reached out to the White House for additional information. It is unclear how President Trump’s diagnosis will upend stalled coronavirus relief negotiations between the White House and congressional leaders.
House Democrats on Thursday approved a $2.2 trillion spending package of COVID-19 relief after last-ditch negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin failed to reach a bipartisan deal.
The White House is also in the midst of a Supreme Court nomination battle. The president nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court last week, and Senate Republicans are poised to confirm Barrett during the last week of October ahead of the November presidential race.
The positive test results also inject fresh uncertainty in the presidential race, which had already been rocked in recent weeks by a fight over the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Sept. 18.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has broadly sought to make the November election a referendum on Trump’s handling of the virus, bringing up the United States’s status as the country with the highest number of cases and early testing lags to criticize the president.
Trump and Biden faced off in their first presidential debate Tuesday night, locking horns over the administration’s efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, among other topics. Biden noted during the debate that Trump privately told journalist Bob Woodward in February that the coronavirus was "more deadly" than the flu, despite saying otherwise in public at the time. Trump’s remarks to Woodward were published last month in a book.
The two candidates did not shake hands or interact closely onstage at the debate, though they were onstage together for more than 90 minutes.
The Hill has reached out to the Biden campaign for further comment on the president’s diagnosis and whether the former vice president will be tested following Tuesday night’s debate. The Trump campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.
For months, Trump declined to wear a face covering in public, despite the urging of his top public health officials who sought to tamp down on a spreading number of cases in a several Southern and Western states at the time.
Trump wore a mask for the first time in July during a visit to Walter Reed hospital in Maryland to visit wounded service members and health staff who had cared for COVID-19 patients. Since then, Trump has worn a mask on several occasions and referenced it for the press, something he did during Tuesday’s debate as well.
With his positive test, Trump joins a number of other world leaders who have contracted the disease, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Monaco’s Prince Albert II. Johnson, in particular, suffered a serious case of COVID-19 and spent three nights in the intensive care unit in April as that nation battled a high number of cases.
Other leaders, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, had to quarantine after being around someone who tested positive for the disease. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also went into home isolation in March after his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, tested positive.
A number of lawmakers in the U.S. have also recovered from COVID-19, including Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) as well as at least a dozen House members. Sens. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said in May that they had tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, indicating they too had likely contracted the virus.
Michigan Rep. Justin Amash (L) tweeted his best wishes to the president and first lady early Friday.
“Best wishes to the president and first lady on a full recovery, and for the health and well being of their family, White House staff, and those around them,” Amash tweeted.
Best wishes to the president and first lady on a full recovery, and for the health and well being of their family, White House staff, and those around them. https://t.co/Ls8hSTdjW6
— Justin Amash (@justinamash)
October 2, 2020
Others acknowledged the gravity of the president himself contracting the disease given the number of precautions taken to keep him away from those believed to be at risk of having the virus.
"It really is punishing. It’s unforgiving. It draws no distinction between Republicans and Democrats,” he said.
The California Democrat said that while he doesn’t want to see Trump’s symptoms get worse, the positive test "should be a wake up call for all of us to get serious."
- Trump aide Hope Hicks tests positive for COVID-19
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"And maybe it’ll provoke the president and his team to come to the table so that we can get the relief package passed,” the lawmaker continued, referencing the talks between House Democrats and administration officials.