WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump has been taken to Walter Reed Military Medical Center after he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19.
The news about their diagnosis came 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.
President Trump was given an an experimental drug by his physician, Dr. Sean Conley, for treatment, an infusion of an antibody cocktail.
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.
This is a developing story. Check below for updates throughout the day:
From Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, President Trump tweets out late Friday night: “Going well, I think! Thank you to all. LOVE!!!”
President Trump on Friday began Remdesivir therapy as part of his treatment for the coronavirus, according to his physician, Dr. Sean P. Conley.
In a statement late Friday night, Dr. Conley indicated it was him who recommended the president move to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center earlier in the day for further monitoring.
At this time, President Trump is doing well and is not in need of any supplemental oxygen.
Late Friday night, Kellyanne Conway, former senior adviser to President Trump, confirmed via Twitter she had tested positive for COVID-19. In her tweet she said her symptoms are mild.
“I have begun a quarantine process in consultation with physicians,” she wrote.
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) announced Friday evening that he has tested positive for COVID-19.
Tillis, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was in attendance at the White House Rose Garden ceremony Saturday where President Trump announced the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
” I will be following the recommendations of my doctor and will be self-isolating at home for 10 days and notifying those I’ve been in close contact with,” Tillis said in a statement. “Thankfully, I have no symptoms and I feel well.”
“As we all know, COVID-19 is a very contagious and deadly virus, especially because many carriers are asymptomatic,” Tillis added. “I encourage all North Carolinians to follow the recommendations of medical experts, including wearing a mask, washing hands, and practicing social distancing. For any North Carolinian who believes they were exposed to the virus or starts to display symptoms, please call your doctor, self-isolate, and get tested to protect those around you.”
Tillis is the second member of the Senate Judiciary Committee to test positive for COVID-19, the first being Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who announced his diagnosis earlier Friday. (Read more about Sen. Tillis testing positive for coronavirus here.)
At least 6 people who participated in the Saturday ceremony have tested positive: Trump, first lady Melania Trump, Tillis, Lee, University of Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins, and an unnamed member of the White House press corps.
Meanwhile, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham says senators can participate virtually in upcoming Supreme Court confirmation hearings after President Donald Trump and other lawmakers tested positive for the coronavirus.
Graham tweeted Friday evening that “Any Senator who wants to participate virtually will be allowed to do so.”
Graham said he was tested for COVID-19 following his interation with Sen. Lee, and the test came back negative. Graham said Lee is “in good spirits and on the mend” and expects to be back to work with the committee by Oct. 12, set as the date for the beginning of the confirmation process.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has called for a delay in voting for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, calling it “irresponsible and dangerous to move forward with a hearing.”
Politico reports that the Commission on Presidential Debates has increased the spacing of the chairs for Wednesday’s vice presidential debate between Sen. Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence; the candidates will reportedly be 12 feet apart rather than 7 feet apart.
The news comes on the heels of reports that the Biden campaign raised an objection to the commission, claiming that the two candidates would not be spaced far enough apart to abide by proper social distancing guidelines.
Meanwhile, the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, who holds a position in the White House, tweeted a message of support for her father, calling him a “warrior.”
Joe Biden’s campaign is taking down its attack ads in the wake of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus infection, according to a Biden campaign official who spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Friday.
The Democrat’s campaign is removing all its negative ads, although in some cases, it may take days for ads already in circulation to stop running. The official says Biden made the decision before news surfaced that Trump was being transferred to a military hospital for a “few days” of treatment.
At least so far, Trump’s campaign has not begun removing any of its attack ads against Biden.
President Trump has landed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Trump took a few short steps from Marine One to a vehicle in the presidential motorcade which took him to the hospital building.
Members of the public have crowded outside the military hospital to catch a glimpse of the president.
Shortly before leaving the White House, President Trump recorded a video message to give an update on his condition and “thank everybody for the tremendous support.”
“I’m going to Walter Reed hospital,” Trump said. “I think I’m doing very well, but we’re going to make sure that things work out.”
“The First Lady is doing very well,” he added.
President Trump has left the White House for a multi-day stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Wearing a suit and a mask, Trump walked out of the White House and boarded Marine One in his first public appearance since his COVID-19 diagnosis.
He gave a thumbs-up beore boarding the helicopter for the short flight to the military hospital.
Eric Trump, President Trump’s middle son, has tweeted a statement about his father.
Trump called his father “a true warrior. He will fight through this with the same strength and conviction that he uses to fight for America each and every day. I ask you to join me in praying for his recovery. I have never been more proud of someone and what they have had to endure.”
At a virtual fundraiser with Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, former President Barack Obama offered his best wishes to President Trump.
“Although we’re in the midst of a big political fight, and we take that very seriously,” Obama said, “we also want to extend our best wishes to the president of the United States.”
“It’s important for all of us to remember that even when we’re in the midst of big political battles with issues that have a lot at stake, that we’re all Americans and we’re all human beings, and we want to make sure everybody is healthy,” Obama added.
President Donald Trump’s and Melania Trump’s coronavirus cases will count as Florida resident cases, a Washington official told CNN on Friday.
The president and first lady changed their permanent residence to Palm Beach, Florida, last year, and coronavirus cases are counted according “to an individual’s self-reported permanent residency,” the Florida Department of Health told CNN.
The District of Columbia “only includes its own residents within its case total,” said LaToya Foster, a spokeswoman for D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, in an email to CNN.
“The White House physician will do their own contact tracing and provide guidance to impacted individuals as has been the practice throughout the pandemic,” she said.
President Trump is being taken to Walter Reed Military Medical Center for treatment “out of abundance of caution,” according to the White House.
“Out of an abundance of caution, and at the recommendation of his physician and medical experts, the President will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days,” Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.
Trump will be flown to Walter Reed on Marine One.
Speaking from Grand Rapids, Michigan, while wearing a mask, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden says President Donald Trump testing positive for the coronavirus is a “bracing reminder” of the seriousness of the virus.
“This is not a matter of politics,” Biden said. “It’s a bracing reminder to all of us that we have to take this virus seriously. It’s not going away automatically. We have to do our part to be responsible. It means following the science.”
Biden said he received a test in Delaware and one from “the former White House doctor” who came up to Delaware to administer the test, “and everything’s clear.”
The former VP also stressed the need for transparency in the contact tracing process: “We need transparency. Those who test positive need to participate in contact tracing so that everyone who they may have exposed can get tested themselves. That’s how you stop transmission for any epidemic. It’s basic.”
On the subject of wearing a mask, Biden urged Americans to “be patriotic.”
“It’s not about being a tough guy, it’s about doing your part. Wearing a mask is not only going to protect you, but it also protects those around you,” Biden said, adding, “don’t just do it for yourself, do it for the people you love. The people you work with.”
President Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, has given an update on the president’s condition, which was released by White House Press Sec. Kayleigh McEnany.
Trump “remains fatigued but in good spirits” after testing positive for COVID-19, according to Dr. Conley. “He received a single 8 gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail” and is “taking zinc, vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and a daily aspirin.”
The Associated Press referred to the cocktail as an experimental drug aimed at supplying antibodies to help fight his coronavirus infection.
The two-antibody combo drug, which is given as a one-time treatment through an IV, is currently in late-stage studies from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. The company previously developed a successful treatment for Ebola using a similar approach.
Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said the drug was being given “as a precautionary measure.”
Trump is apparently not receiving hydroxychloroquine, a drug he widely touted, to much criticism, that has been shown in many studies to be ineffective for preventing or treating COVID-19.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tested negative for COVID-19, according to a spokesperson.
Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, said that the Speaker was tested by the Capitol’s Office of the Attending Physician “out of an abundance of caution.”
Dr. Brian Monahan, the Attending Physician of the United States Congress, informed Pelosi that she tested negative Friday.
Pelosi, who is second in line for the presidency behind Vice President Mike Pence, was contacted by the White House on the protocols of continuity of government earlier Friday.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), a frequent and vocal critic of President Trump, slammed the president for what she calls, “actively spreading a deadly virus.”
“As someone who lost my own father to this virus and seen the pain it causes, I do not wish it on anyone,” Omar said in a statement.
“Over 200,000 people have now died while this Administration actively ignores public health guidance and suppresses science,” she added. “For months, we have been hoping for a simple acknowledgment from the President — to hear the words, ‘We will get through this together.’ And now we only hear those words when it is about him — not the hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their lives, and the millions whose families have been touched by it because of his malfeasance.
Omar criticized Trump for holding a rally and fundraiser this week in Minnesota without wearing a mask, saying he exposed hundreds of people in a state where cases are already rising.
“This week, the President held a rally and fundraiser in Minnesota,” Omar wrote, “flouting the guidance of his own health agencies by failing to wear a mask. In doing so, he exposed hundreds in a state that is already suffering from an uptick in cases.”
She also slammed Congressional Republicans who travelled with him “on Air Force One and have not quarantined” and then went to work at the U.S. Capitol, “risking the lives of additional elected leaders and staff.”
Cleveland officials say they’re aware of 11 positive coronavirus cases related to the setup and planning for Tuesday’s presidential debate.
The city said in a statement Friday that it’s working with state and federal officials and is involved with interviewing those who tested positive.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Clinic, the health advisor to the Commission on Presidential Debates and the host site, issued a statement saying that they are reaching out to guests in attendance at the debate.
Cleveland officials say most of the cases stemming from the pre-debate planning and setup involved people from out of state. They say health officials are now looking into their travels.
Meanwhile, the White House does not appear to be making any changes to current coronavirus protocol, despite the president and first lady testing positive for COVID-19.
A senior White House official told the AP Friday that masks will still not be mandatory at the White House, describing facial coverings as “a personal choice,” despite overwhelming evidence that they help to stop the spread.
Additionally, the White House is not planning to move to a different, more reliable testing system after the one it uses failed to detect that Trump aide Hope Hicks had the virus the day she began experiencing symptoms.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal White House thinking, defended the current system.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney, has tested negative for COVID-19, according to a spokesperson.
The Associated Press reports that the vice presidential debate set to take place on Wednesday, Oct. 7, will take place as scheduled.
Two additional debates are scheduled for Oct. 15 and Oct. 22.
The Commission on Presidential Debates has not yet commented on any changes in the debate schedule or health protocols.
All campaign events featuring President Trump are being postponed or are in the process of becoming virtual events, according to the Trump campaign.
“In addition, previously announced events involving members of the First Family are also being temporarily postponed,” Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement.
“Vice President Mike Pence, who has tested negative for COVID-19, plans on resuming his scheduled campaign events,” Stepien added. “Any further information about the President will come from the White House.”
With over 870,000 retweets and over 1.5 million likes and counting, it is well on its way into the record books.
The president has not posted to Twitter since the early morning update.
What happens if the president becomes too sick to continue his time in office? The answer isn’t as obvious as one might think.
Donald Trump’s immediate successor, should he become incapacitated from the disease, would be Vice President Mike Pence.
For now, Trump is seemingly healthy enough to continue as commander-in-chief, but the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives the president the right to temporarily transfer power to the vice president should it be deemed necessary.
“Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President,” Section 3 of the amendment states.
This section of the 25th Amendment has rarely been invoked. Republican President Ronald Reagan temporarily ceded power to then-Vice President George H.W. Bush when Reagan underwent colon surgery.
Bush’s son, former President George W. Bush, invoked Section 3 twice while undergoing colonoscopies, ceding power to then-Vice President Dick Cheney.
Lawmakers prepared documents for power to be transferred to the vice president when Reagen was shot in an assasination attempt, but it was never implemented.
But Section 4 of the Amendment, which has never before been invoked, is more of a legal grey area: It gives Congress more power to determine if the president has become mentally incapacitated.
What does this entail? And what does this mean for the presidential campaign? Click here to read more.
Following his negative COVID-19 test, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will be traveling to Michigan today for a campaign event in Grand Rapids.
Biden’s running mate, Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, will be attending her scheduled campaign event in Las Vegas today, following her own negative test. Her husband, Doug Emhoff, tested negative as well, and will be campaigining in Greensboro, N.C.
Meanwhile, according to multiple reports, Vice President Mike Pence took President Trump’s place on a scheduled phone call about COVID-19 support for vulnerable seniors.
Rev. John Jenkins, the president of the University of Notre Dame who was in attendance at Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court Nomination event at the White House, has tested positive for coronavirus, according to the university.
“The positive test is a good reminder for me and perhaps for all of how vigilant we need to be,” Jenkins saaid in a statement.
Jenkins was in attendance at the White House South Lawn ceremony Saturday, and could be seen not wearing a mask in photos from the event.
Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, have tested negative for COVID-19, according to their primary care physician.
Biden posted to Twitter following the negative tests, thanking everyone for their messages of concern.
“I hope this serves as a reminder: wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands,” Biden said.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) announced that he has tested positive for coronavirus.
Lee, who tested positive Thursday, was at the White House on Saturday for President Trump’s announcement of Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee.
Lee also met with Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee this week at the U.S. Capitol.
Testifying on Capitol Hill today, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar faced tough questions about the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
When asked about the president’s rallies, which feature large crowds and minimal social distancing or mask wearing, Azar emphasized personal responsibility.
“We have consistent advice, which is to practice the three ‘Ws,'” Azar said. “We’re all individuals – wash your hands, watch your distance, wear face coverings, and avoid settings where you can’t. That applies to any setting, and people need to look to their own circumstances.”
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has been tested for the coronavirus and is awaiting results, sources tell the AP.
The former Vice President shared a debate stage with Trump for more than 90 minutes earlier on Tuesday.
During the debate, Trump mocked Biden for wearing masks.
“I don’t wear masks like him,” Trump said. “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.”
It is not clear whether or not Biden will attend any scheduled campaign events Friday.
The Biden campaign is expected to announce the results of Biden’s test and his travel plans later in the day.
First Lady Melania Trump wrote on Twitter that she is experiencing “minor symptoms,” but is “overall feeling good” and “looking forward to a speedy recovery.”
The White House has confirmed that President Trump is experiencing “mild symptoms” of the coronavirus.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows updated reporters on the president’s status in front of the White House Friday, as well as saying that everyone on the president’s core staff has been tested, including Jared Kushner, Dan Scavino, and others.
“He’s in the residence now,” Meadows said. “In true fashion, he’s probably critiquing these answers that I’m giving.”
Meadows said that he “fully” expects that there will be more positive results in the White House.
“I fully expect that as this virus continues to go on, other people in the White House will certainly have a positive test result,” Meadows said.
When asked by a reporter why he wasn’t wearing a mask, Meadows said, “I’ve obviously been tested.”
“We’re hopefully more than 6 feet away,” he added.
The White House said they learned that top aide Hope Hicks tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of Trump’s trip to New Jersey: “We discovered that right as Marine One was taking off yesterday,” Meadows said.
Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney, will be tested for coronavirus Friday in New York.
“Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be getting tested for COVID-19 today. In the meantime, he has begun the quarantine process,” according to a spokesperson for Giuliani.
Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is encouraging everyone who attended Trump’s fundraiser in Bedminster, New Jersey, Thursday to get tested.
”The contact-tracing process is underway,” Murphy said in a statement. “We urge everyone who attended yesterday’s event in Bedminster to take full precautions, including self-quarantining and getting tested.”
“Tammy and I send our best wishes to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a speedy and complete return to good health,” he added. “If there is one thing we have learned in New Jersey over these months, it’s that we pull together and support everyone fighting this virus.”
The Trump campaign office remains open, according to an email sent by Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien.
In the email, Stepien encouraged “any campaign staff member who has had exposure to someone testing positive” to “immediately begin self-quarantine.”
Stepien said “it is on all of us” in the campaign to continue safe practices such as wearing a mask, washing hands, and abiding by safe social distancing guidelines.
“While some public events will be taken down,” Stepien wrote, “the campaign office remains open and our nation-wide team will continue our efforts to re-elect President Trump.”
Stepien has been around Trump all week, including inside a conference room with Chris Christie and others to help the president prepare for Tuesday’s debate.
New York Gov. Cuomo (D-NY), who has clashed with the president throughout the coronavirus crisis about the response to the pandemic, issued a statement saying his “thoughts are with” the president and first lady.
“This virus is vicious and spreads easily. Wear a mask. Let’s all look out for each other,” Cuomo said in a statement.
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.
According to the White House, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has tested negative for coronavirus.
Meanwhile, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie says that he was tested this morning and is awaiting results.
“I feel fine and have no symptoms,” Christie said in a post to Twitter.
Chris Christie was one of the people who helped the president prepare for the debate, one of “5 or 6 people” in a room with Trump helping him prepare. “No one was wearing masks in the room during that time when we were prepping the president,” Christie told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Christie joined ABC News as a contributor in 2018.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.