As soon as word began circulating that embattled “I’ll do anything to win reelection” Donald Trump and his wife were exposed to, then diagnosed with, COVID-19 , doubts began to rise on whether the news was true or if it could be last-minute campaign stunt.
Presidential adviser Hope Hicks tested positive with the virus Thursday morning. She traveled with the Trumps during this week and meets with the president several times a day, usually without a mask or social distancing. Trump and the First Lady were tested later in day, said White House presidential physical Sean P. Conley, after returning to Washington after attending a campaign fundraiser at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., where he mixed freely, with close contact to well-healed contributors.
“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19,” the president tweeted just before 1 a.m. Friday. “We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”
Conley wrote on Twitter a few minutes afterward that the Trumps “are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.”
The rapid diagnosis system used by the White House is known for a high number of “false positives” and putting Trump in self-quarantine cancels plans for a number of rallies and other campaign events with just a little over a month before the Nov. 3 election. On Thursday, on a campaign call with Iowa voters, and in an interiew with Sean Hannity on Fox News, Trump’s voice was raspy.
Suddenly, White House aides seldom seen with masks, had their faces covered. Word began to circulate that Trump and his wife had tested positive.
Some say the infections were long overdue.
“The Trump family exposed every attendee at the debate: guests, workers, Members of Congress, Secret Service agents, members of the media, and janitors to a deadly virus that has killed 205,000 Americans to date,” said Kristin Urquiza, co-founder of the group “Marked by COVID,” who attended the debate Thursday night. “Irresponsible is an understatement: this is criminal.”
Her father died of the virus in June at age 65. She adds:
It was not surprising to learn that I’ve now been exposed to COVID by The Donald himself as I sat about 15 feet away from him, in the very first row of the debate hall, while he yelled and mocked VP Biden for wearing masks. I am terrified. I know the darkest result of COVID: an undignified and lonesome death.
In Congress, Republicans and Democrats offered condolences and hope for the First Couple.
“President Trump is a fighter — through and through. Please join me in praying for a complete and speedy recovery for him and our First Lady!” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tweeted.
Democratic Rep. Lori Trahan of Massachusetts also tweeted: “This is another stark reminder that no one is immune from #COVID19. Please continue to be vigilant. Wear a mask. Maintain social distancing. Listen to the experts.”
Vice President Mike Pence, who is next in line for the presidency if Trump’s condition worsens, tested negative, along with his wife, Karen, tested negative.
“As has been routine for months, Vice President Pence is tested for COVID-19 every day,” spokesman Devin O’Malley said in a tweet. “This morning, Vice President Pence and the Second Lady tested negative for COVID-19. Vice President Pence remains in good health and wishes the Trumps well in their recovery.”
Trump’s campaign Friday cancelled a fundraiser at the president’s Washington Hotel and a rally in Florida Friday. He still plans a phone call “on COVID-19 support to vulnerable seniors.”
Also, at risk are the two remaining campaign presidential debates. After the commission that controls the debate announced it will be implementing “changes” to the debate structure after the first debate Tuesday turned into a debacle with Trump attacking, shouting an interrupting Biden and moderator Chris Wallace, many have questioned the need for the final two debates and, if held, said mikes of the two candidates should be muted when the other side is speaking.
Trump rejected any changes.
Now everything is up in the air. At age 74 and extremely obese, Trump himself becomes more of a risk with a disease that has killed more than a million people worldwide and more tan 200,000 in America — most of them seniors with underlying health conditions.
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