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Live Updates: President Trump Tests Positive for COVID-19, Pence Tests Negative, Pelosi Awaiting Results

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus, the president announced early Friday.

The news comes just hours after top aide Hope Hicks tested positive for COVID-19. Hicks traveled with the president multiple times this week, including aboard Marine One, the presidential helicopter, and on Air Force One to a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday, and aboard Air Force One to Tuesday night’s first presidential debate in Cleveland.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence have tested negative for COVID-19, according to Pence’s press secretary Devin O’Malley.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told MSNBC that she was tested “out of abundance of caution” and is awaiting the results.

In a memo, the White House physician said he expects the president to “continue carrying out his duties without disruption.”

This is a developing story. Check below for updates throughout the day:

9:50 a.m.

Trump’s 14-year-old son, Barron, has tested negative for COVID-19, first lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff Stephanie Grisham told CNN.

“Barron has tested negative and all precautions are being taken to ensure he’s kept safe and healthy,” Grisham said.

9:45 a.m.

The Associated Press reports that Trump is experiencing “mild symptoms” of coronavirus after testing positive.

Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, who both hold positions in the White House, have both tested negative for COVID-19, according to a White House official.

Additionally, RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday after a member of her family tested positive, according to a spokesperson. The New York Times reports she is experiencing minor symptoms. She was last with the president last Friday. 

Meanwhile, Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris has tested negative for COVID-19, according to Politico.

9:30 a.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told MSNBC that she was tested “out of abundance of caution” and is awaiting the results.

“Let us all just pray for the president’s health, thank God the vice president has tested negatively,” Pelosi said.

Also reported by MSNBC, Pelosi has been contacted by the White House about the protocols of continuity of government.

If both the president and vice president both were to become incapacitated, according to the presidential line of succession outlined by the U.S. Constitution, the Speaker of the House assumes the powers and duties of the presidency.

9:15 a.m.

Trump joins a small list of world leaders who have contracted the coronavirus.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was the first major world leader confirmed to have COVID-19. He faced marked criticism for downplaying the pandemic. Johnson was moved to intensive care in April after his symptoms dramatically worsened a day after he was hospitalized. He was given oxygen but did not need a ventilator, officials said.

Johnson later expressed gratitude to the NHS workers who he says saved his life. 

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro announced he tested positive for COVID-19 in July and used it to publicly extol the virtues of hydroxychloroquine, the unproven malaria drug that he’d been promoting as a treatment for COVID-19 and was taking himself.

Other leaders who have contracted the virus include:

  • Juan Orlando Hernandez, president of Honduras
  • Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus
  • Prince Albert II of Monaco
  • Alejandro Giammattei, president of Guatemala
  • Luis Abinader, president of the Dominican Republic

8:45 a.m.

Trump’s Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, is offering his thoughts and prayers to the president and first lady.

“Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery. We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family,” Biden posted to Twitter Friday.

A source close to the Democratic challenger’s campaign says that Biden will be tested Friday morning, according to a report.

8:30 a.m.

More people in the president’s inner circle are releasing their test results for COVID-19 following the president’s positive result.

Two key members of the president’s cabinet have tested negative for coronavirus.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has tested negative, according to Monica Crowley, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for the U.S. Treasury.

Mnuchin wished the president and first lady a speedy recovery earlier Friday.

Earlier Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife tested negative for COVID-19.

“We’re praying for the President and the First Lady, that they’ll have a speedy recovery,” Pompeo told reporters. “I spoke with the Vice President’s office this morning as well. We’re taking this, obviously, very seriously, and we’ll do everything we can to keep everyone safe, including you all.”

Pompeo has reportedly not had contact with President Trump since Sept. 15, when Trump joined leaders from Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain for the signing of the Abraham Accords.

8:00 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence have tested negative for COVID-19, according to Pence’s press secretary Devin O’Malley.

“Vice President Pence remains in good health and wishes the Trumps well in their recovery,” O’Malley wrote on Twitter.

Pence is tested for COVID-19 daily, according to O’Malley.

7:45 a.m.

President Trump’s rally in Florida has been canceled.

Trump’s “Make America Great Again” Rally, initially set to take place Friday at the Orlando Sanford International Airport in Sanford, Florida, will not take place in light of the president testing positive for COVID-19.

The president’s calendar for Friday is now minimal, with just a phone call on COVID-19 support to vulnerable seniors scheduled the afternoon.

This is an abrupt halt for in-person campaign visits just weeks ahead of the election, as Trump has continued to reassure Americans that we are “rounding the corner” of this pandemic, although national health experts do not agree.

Read more here.

7:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump had a busy week this week, as one might expect with less than a month to go until the election.

The president traveled to three states, including a stop in Cleveland, Ohio, for a memorable debate with former Vice President Joe Biden, his Democratic challenger.

The news comes on the heels of top Trump aide Hope Hicks testing positive for coronavirus. Hicks traveled with the president multiple times this week, including aboard Marine One, the presidential helicopter, and on Air Force One to a rally in Minnesota Wednesday, and aboard Air Force One to Tuesday night’s first presidential debate in Cleveland.

Here is a look at Trump’s busy schedule from this week.

6:30 a.m.

President Trump’s diagnosis is making waves internationally, with foreign leaders and overseas markets reacting to the news.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is extending wishes of a speedy recovery to U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, and expressing “sincere support in this difficult moment,” according to a statement released by the Kremlin on Friday.

Trump announced on Twitter early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Kremlin says Putin sent Trump a telegram saying, “I hope that your inherent vitality, good spirits and optimism will help you cope with the dangerous virus.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is wishing U.S. President Donald Trump a “speedy recovery” from COVID-19.

Johnson tweeted Friday morning: “My best wishes to President Trump and the First Lady. Hope they both have a speedy recovery from coronavirus.”

Johnson was hospitalized for a week in April after he contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. After he was released, the prime minister thanked doctors and nurses at St. Thomas’s Hospital for saving his life. Johnson was treated in the hospital’s intensive care unit, where he received oxygen but was not put on a ventilator.

Meanwhile, stock prices slipped on Trump’s announcement ahead of the opening of U.S. markets.

U.S. stock futures and Asian shares fell Friday. The future contracts for both the S&P 500 and the Dow industrials dropped nearly 2% but were trading 1.2% lower several hours later. Oil prices tumbled about 3%.

Germany’s DAX gave up 0.6% to 12,649.29 and the CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.6% to 4,796.97. Britain’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.5% to 5,850.86.

The Nikkei 225 index shed strong early gains, losing 0.7% to 23,029.90 after the Tokyo Stock Exchange resumed trading following an all day outage due to a technical failure. Reports that the Japanese government is preparing new stimulus measures to help the economy recover from a prolonged downturn worsened by the coronavirus pandemic provided only a temporary lift. Prices fell further after Trump’s announcement.

Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 slipped 1.4% to 5,791.50. Shares in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia also fell.

OVERNIGHT:

President Donald Trump said early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus, a stunning announcement that plunges the country deeper into uncertainty just a month before the presidential election.

Trump, who has spent much of the year downplaying the threat of a virus that has killed more than 205,000 Americans, said he and Mrs. Trump were quarantining. The White House physician said the president is expected to continue carrying out his duties “without disruption” while recovering.

Still, Trump’s diagnosis was sure to have a destabilizing effect in Washington, raising questions about how far the virus had spread through the highest levels of the U.S. government. Hours before Trump announced he had contracted the virus, the White House said a top aide who had traveled with him during the week had tested positive.

“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” Trump tweeted.

Trump was last seen by reporters returning to the White House on Thursday evening and did not appear visibly ill. Trump is 74 years old, putting him at higher risk of serious complications from a virus that has infected more than 7 million people nationwide.

The president’s physician said in a memo that Trump and the first lady, who is 50, “are both well at this time” and “plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.”

The diagnosis marks a devastating blow for a president who has been trying desperately to convince the American public that the worst of the pandemic is behind them. In the best of cases, if he develops no symptoms, which can include fever, cough and breathing trouble, it will force him off the campaign trail just weeks before the election.

Trump’s handling of the pandemic has already been a major flashpoint in his race against Democrat Joe Biden, who spent much of the summer off the campaign trail and at his home in Delaware because of the virus. Biden has since resumed a more active campaign schedule, but with small, socially distanced crowds. He also regularly wears a mask in public, something Trump mocked him for at Tuesday night’s debate.

“I don’t wear masks like him,” Trump said of Biden. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from me, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”

There was no immediate comment from the Biden campaign on whether the former vice president had been tested since appearing at the debate with Trump or whether he was taking any additional safety protocols.

Trump had been scheduled to attend a fundraiser and hold another campaign rally in Sanford, Florida, on Friday evening. But just after 1 a.m., the White House released a revised schedule with only one event: a phone call on “COVID-19 support to vulnerable seniors.”

Trump’s announcement came hours after he confirmed that Hope Hicks, one of his most trusted and longest-serving aides, had been diagnosed with the virus Thursday. Hicks began feeling mild symptoms during the plane ride home from a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday evening, according to an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose private information. She was isolated from other passengers aboard the plane, the person said.

Hicks had been with Trump and other senior staff aboard Marine One and Air Force One en route to that rally and had accompanied the president to Tuesday’s presidential debate in Cleveland, along with members of the Trump family. They did not wear masks during the debate, in violation of the venue rules.

Multiple White House staffers have previously tested positive for the virus, including Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, national security adviser Robert O’Brien and one of the president’s personal valets.

But Trump has consistently played down concerns about being personally vulnerable, even after White House staff and allies were exposed and sickened. Since the coronavirus emerged earlier this year, Trump has refused to abide by basic public health guidelines — including those issued by his own administration — such as wearing masks in public and practicing social distancing. Instead, he has continued to hold campaign rallies that draw thousands of supporters.

“I felt no vulnerability whatsoever,” he said told reporters back in May.

The news was sure to rattle an already shaken nation still grappling with how to safely reopen the economy without driving virus transmission. The White House has access to near-unlimited resources, including a constant supply of quick-result tests, and still failed to keep the president safe, raising questions about how the rest of the country will be able to protect its workers, students and the public as businesses and schools reopen.

Questions remain about why it took so long for Trump to be tested and why he and his aides continued to come to work and travel after Hicks fell ill. Trump traveled to New Jersey on Thursday for a fundraiser, exposing attendees to the virus.

Pence’s aides had no immediate comment on whether the vice president had been tested or in contact with Trump.

It is unclear where the Trumps and Hicks may have caught the virus, but in his Fox interview, Trump seemed to suggest it may have been spread by someone in the military or law enforcement.

“It’s very, very hard when you are with people from the military or from law enforcement, and they come over to you, and they want to hug you, and they want to kiss you,” he said, “because we really have done a good job for them. And you get close. And things happen.”

The White House began instituting a daily testing regimen for the president’s senior aides after earlier positive cases close to the president. Anyone in close proximity to the president or vice president is also tested every day, including reporters.

Yet since the early days of the pandemic, experts have questioned the health and safety protocols at the White House and asked why more wasn’t being done to protect the commander in chief. Trump continued to shake hands with visitors long after public health officials were warning against it, and he initially resisted being tested.

Trump is far from the first world leader to test positive for the virus, which previously infected Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who spent a week in the hospital, including three nights in intensive care. Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was hospitalized last month while fighting what he called a “hellish” case of COVID-19.

While there is currently no evidence that Trump is seriously ill, the positive test raises questions about what would happen if he were to become incapacitated due to illness.

The Constitution’s 25th Amendment spells out the procedures under which the president can declare himself “unable to discharge the powers and duties” of the presidency. If he were to make that call, Trump would transmit a written note to the Senate president pro tempore, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Pence would serve as acting president until Trump transmitted “a written declaration to the contrary.”

The vice president and a majority of either the Cabinet or another body established by law can also declare the president unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, in which case Pence would “immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President” until Trump could provide a written declaration to the contrary.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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