(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump’s campaign events will go virtual or will be delayed. Democratic candidate Joe Biden tested negative for the coronavirus and will go ahead with a campaign trip. A Republican senator tested positive.
Trump said early Friday that he had tested positive along with his wife and one of his closest aides, throwing his campaign into deeper disarray just one month before the election.
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Trump Campaign Events to Go Virtual or Be Delayed
President Donald Trump’s campaign faces at least a temporary shake-up thanks to his contraction of the coronavirus.
“All previously announced campaign events involving the president’s participation are in the process of being moved to virtual events or are being temporarily postponed,” the Trump campaign said in statement Friday afternoon.
Biden Heads to Battleground-State Michigan as Campaign Continues
Former Vice President Joe Biden is traveling to Grand Rapids, Michigan on Friday for two campaign stops after delaying departure while the campaign awaited his latest test. The state is a key battleground in Biden’s quest to beat Trump next month.
While the fight continues, Jen O’Malley Dillon, Biden’s campaign manager, sent an all-staff email early Friday — possibly to prevent any gloating about the opponent — telling staff to “refrain from posting about the situation on social media unless otherwise directed by your manager.”
Pence Stands in for Trump on Call With Governors
Vice President Mike Pence, who tested negative for the virus Friday, handled a call on the virus that the president had been slated to lead with governors.
Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, tested negative Friday for coronavirus, his aide Devin O’Malley said earlier Friday.
Biden, Harris Test Negative for Covid-19 on Friday
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, have tested negative for the coronavirus after learning of the president’s infection. Biden had shared a stage with Trump on Tuesday during their embattled debate.
The vice presidential candidate, Senator Kamala Harris, also tested negative Friday morning, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Republican Senator Tests Positive After White House Visit
Utah GOP Senator Mike Lee said he’s tested positive for Covid-19, a few days after being at the White House.
Lee said in a statement that he tested negative when he went to the White House, but began experiencing symptoms consistent with allergies and “out of an abundance of caution” got another test, which came back positive.
Lee, a member of the Judiciary Committee, met Tuesday with Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. On Thursday morning, Lee attended a regularly scheduled Senate Judiciary Committee meeting to discuss pending nominations. Most members of the panel were present. –Laura Litvan
County Starts Contact Tracing After Trump’s Golf-Resort Event
The New Jersey county where President Donald Trump’s Bedminster golf resort is located is starting a contact-tracing operation after his visit there Thursday.
“As the public health department for Bedminster, and in conjunction with the New Jersey Department of Health, Somerset County has begun the contact tracing investigation to determine the potential risk of exposure to attendees and staff at the facility to Covid-19,” the county’s health department said.
Trump held a fundraiser at his New Jersey resort on Thursday that raised $5 million.
House Eyes Testing Regimen at the Capitol
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said leaders of the congressional chamber are “looking at” instituting covid testing in the Capitol and expect decision before Congress returns from a scheduled recess that starts Friday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said earlier this year they wouldn’t implement testing for members. Pelosi made masks mandatory in the Capitol following the positive diagnosis of Representative Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, in July. She said then it was up to the Capitol Physician to determine whether members should be tested regularly. –Daniel Flatley
Schumer Calls for Contact Tracing, Isolation for Those Exposed
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the coronavirus infections of the president, first lady and a top aide mean the White House should “immediately conduct a contact tracing regime” that follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. He also urged “thorough testing and isolation for those who were exposed to infection risk.”
“This must include strict adherence to those guidelines for all of the White House staff members that the president, first lady, and the aide came into contact with; and all of the people those individuals came into contact with whom experts deem at risk of exposure,” Schumer said in a statement.
Trump Kept Regular Schedule After Aide’s Infection
The president continued with a full schedule of events after learning on Thursday morning that his aide Hope Hicks tested positive for coronavirus, according to people familiar with the situation. Those included a fundraiser at his New Jersey resort that raised $5 million.
The White House has not said when Trump first tested positive for the virus, but Trump said late Thursday he was awaiting results.
Read more: Trump Kept Regular Schedule After Learning Close Aide Had Covid
Meadows Says Trump to ‘Remain on the Job’
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said that the president is “very energetic” with mild symptoms from the coronavirus. Meadows said he himself has tested negative, along with other close Trump aides including his son-in-law Jared Kushner.
“The American people can rest assured that we have a president that is not only on the job, will remain on the job,” Meadows told reporters, without wearing a mask. “I’m optimistic that he’ll have a very quick and speedy recovery.”
Kudlow, Mnuchin Test Negative for Covid-19
National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said he’s tested negative for the coronavirus, joining Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in avoiding Covid-19 so far.
China’s Government Hopes Trump Recovers ‘Soon’
Beijing issued a brief statement on Trump’s diagnosis. “China has noticed the relevant news and hopes the Trumps recover soon,” a foreign ministry spokesperson said in a WeChat message. China is currently on weeklong Mid-Autumn festival holidays.
Trump has sought to boost his popularity with voters with campaign-trail attacks on China over trade, tech companies and Beijing’s handling of the early days of the pandemic. He assailed China in a speech in late September to the United Nations General Assembly, saying it allowed “flights to leave China and infect the world.”
While the official response from China was kept to well wishes, the editor of the hawkish state-linked Global Times newspaper, Hu Xijin, said Trump was paying the price for downplaying the severity of Covid-19 in the U.S., and said it could affect his re-election prospects. — Rosalind Mathieson
Pelosi Sees Changed Dynamic for Stimulus
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on a fresh stimulus package this week have yet to break the impasse that’s persisted for months, said things might change in the wake of Trump’s infection.
“This kind of changes the dynamic,” Pelosi said on MSNBC Friday. She has criticized the Trump administration for paying insufficient attention to containing the coronavirus and she said the current situation may change the White House stance on pandemic relief.
“Maybe this will be the moment where people will say, OK, masks, sanitation, treatment,” she said. “It might be a learning experience,” she said of the news. The speaker said she was tested Friday morning, and awaits the results.
Senate on Track on Supreme Court Nominee; Barrett Tests Negative
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that “we don’t expect any unanticipated event that would throw us off schedule” with regard to considering Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court. McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham had set a rapid timetable to vote on Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation as a justice on the top court in coming weeks, with four days of hearings starting Oct. 12.
McConnell also said on the Hugh Hewitt radio show Friday morning that the Senate would vote on Barrett “very soon. I haven’t picked an exact point to bring the nomination up but it’s front and center for the American people.” He declined to specify whether that would be before Election Day.
Barrett tested negative for the coronavirus on Friday, according to a White House official.
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