President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19, the president tweeted late Thursday night. The White House medical doctor has stated that both the president and first lady are experiencing mild symptoms but are “doing well.”
By Friday evening, the president was transferred from the White House to Walter Reed Military Medical Center for a few days out of “an abundance of caution,” according to White House staff.
The news follows reports that White House adviser Hope Hicks tested positive Thursday morning and was said to have been experiencing symptoms on Wednesday.
It has been reported by Bloomberg that White House staff suspected Pres. Trump was not feeling well on Wednesday. It is not known how the president contracted the virus.
Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence have reportedly tested negative for COVID-19. Democratic challenger Joe Biden tweeted that he and wife Dr. Jill Biden tested negative for COVID-19 today.
Former Vice President Biden faced off with the president on Tuesday night at a widely derided 90-minute debate marked by yelling and constant interruptions by the president.
During the debate, as he has done frequently throughout the campaign, Pres. Trump mocked Biden for wearing a mask. It was reported that the Trump administration did not call the Biden campaign to inform them of the president’s positive COVID-19 test results.
The news of Pres. Trump’s positive test results comes on the heels of a new study from Cornell University, citing him as the world’s biggest spreader of coronavirus misinformation.
The news also adds more chaos to Pres. Trump’s campaign for reelection 32 days out. The president will have to remain in isolation for the next two weeks, throwing the two remaining debates and future campaigning in doubt.
A key part of Trump’s campaign strategy for reelection has been to downplay the coronavirus and push the narrative that the nation has “turned the corner” on the pandemic. The president has continued to hold large rallies packed with supporters who are frequently seen not wearing masks—such was the case in Minnesota on Wednesday.
Biden, on the other hand, has held mostly virtual campaign appearances but has increased in-person, socially distanced events in recent days. He participated in one such event in Michigan Friday afternoon where he gave well-wishes to the first family. He also acknowledged the seven million Americans who have contracted COVID-19 and the families of the more than 200,000 people who have succumbed to it. It was reported late Friday evening that the Biden campaign has pulled all of its negative ads for the time being.
Going forward, it’s been reported that the Commission on Presidential Debates will enforce stricter COVID-19 precautions at next Wednesday’s debate between Vice President Pence and Senator Kamala Harris. The commission and the Cleveland Clinic medical staff have come under heavy criticism for allowing the first family and Trump entourage to sit maskless at the first presidential debate. Several eyewitnesses said that the Trump family and supporters refused to put on a mask when offered one by medical staff in the debate hall.
At the upcoming debates, anyone who refuses to wear a mask will be escorted out of the hall. Also, the candidates will reportedly be seated 12 feet apart instead of six—a request that came from the Biden-Harris campaign.
The MSR will continue to follow this story as it developments.