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Campaign Manager, Kellyanne Conway Test Positive: Trump Update

Christopher Anstey and John Harney
·13 mins read
Campaign Manager, Kellyanne Conway Test Positive: Trump Update
Campaign Manager, Kellyanne Conway Test Positive: Trump Update

(Bloomberg) --

President Donald Trump is being treated with an antiviral drug at a U.S. military hospital near Washington. Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien tested positive for the coronavirus, as did former White House Senior Adviser Kellyanne Conway. Republican Senator Thom Tillis said he also has Covid-19.

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.

Other developments:

Trump Kept Regular Schedule After Learning Close Aide Had CovidSenate’s Supreme Court Timeline Gets New Scrutiny on Virus FearsThe Coronavirus Treatments Available for Trump: QuickTakeTrump’s Age and Weight Make Covid Particularly Dangerous

Trump’s Symptoms Worsened Before Hospital Trip: NYT

The president had Covid-19 symptoms that worsened throughout the day before he went to Walter Reed hospital, the New York Times reported, citing unidentified aides. He was coughing and had congestion and fever, according to the report.

Biden Calls Trump’s Diagnosis A ‘Bracing Reminder’

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called Trump’s diagnosis of Covid-19 a “bracing reminder” that Americans need to take the virus seriously, using the news to strengthen his calls for protective measures like masks and social distancing.

“We need to take the science of fighting this disease seriously if we’re going to save lives and above all the news is a reminder that we, as a nation, need to do better in dealing with this pandemic,” Biden said.

Pence, Harris Will Be 12 Feet Apart at Their Debate

Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris will be placed farther apart at their debate next week, according to people familiar with the development.

The Commission on Presidential Debates plans to seat Pence and Harris 12 feet (3.7 meters) apart, rather than 7 feet, as initially planned, according to people familiar with the procedure, who asked not to be named discussing information not yet public.

Obama Sends Well-Wishes to Trump

Former President Barack Obama wished a speedy recovery to Trump while headlining a fund-raiser to defeat him on Nov. 3.

“Let me start, by the way, by just stating that although were in the midst of a big political fight and we take that very seriously, we also want to extend our best wishes to the president of the United States and the first lady,” Obama said during a joint fundraiser with Kamala Harris.

Harris also wished Trump well.

Trump Campaign Manager Stepien Tests Positive

Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday. Stepien was promoted to run the struggling campaign this summer to help revive Trump’s re-election bid.

Trump Being Treated With Antiviral Drug, Doctor Says

The president’s physician, Sean Conley, said late Friday night that Trump was being treated with the antiviral drug Remdesivir and did not require oxygen.

“This evening, I am happy to report that the president is doing very well,” Conley said in a White House statement. “He is not requiring any supplemental oxygen, but in consultation with specialists we have elected to initiate Remdesivir therapy. He completed his first dose and is resting comfortably.”

Remdesivir has been authorized to fight the virus in a number of countries. It was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration May 1 for emergency use after research showed that the medicine, made by Gilead Sciences Inc., helped hospitalized patients recover from Covid-19 more quickly than standard care alone.

Former Top Trump Aide Conway Tests Positive for Virus

Kellyanne Conway, a former top aide to Trump, said late Friday night that she has tested positive for the coronavirus.

“My symptoms are mild (light cough) and I’m feeling fine. I have begun a quarantine process in consultation with physicians,” Conway, who left the White House in August, said on Twitter.

She did not say how she might have contracted the virus. She attended the ceremony at the White House last Saturday for Trump’s announcement that he would nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Two Republican senators, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Mike Lee of Utah, also attended the event.

Conway, the first woman to manage a winning presidential campaign with Trump’s victory in 2016, said that she was leaving the administration to focus on her family. At the same time, her husband, George Conway, said on Twitter that he was departing the Lincoln Project, a group committed to defeating Trump in November.

“We disagree about plenty but we are united on what matters most: the kids,” Kellyanne Conway said in August.

North Carolina’s Tillis Says He Has Tested Positive

Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said Friday he had tested positive for Covid-19. Another member of the panel, Mike Lee of Utah, announced he was positive earlier Friday.

Both were among the Republican senators who attended the Rose Garden ceremony last Saturday in which Trump announced the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. The senators sat a row behind senior White House staff and Vice President Mike Pence.

Tillis, unlike Lee and most other attendees, was pictured wearing a mask. On Thursday, he went to the Senate floor to cast a vote.

“Thankfully, I have no symptoms and I feel well,” Tillis, 60, said in a statement. Tillis took part Thursday night in a debate with his Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham., who has been leading in polls and in fundraising in the pivotal battleground state.

The Tillis campaign said it was suspending all in-person events and staffers who were exposed to the senator would quarantine and receive tests. Cunningham said he would take a test as well.

North Korea’s Dictator Joins in Get-Well Wishes

Trump received get-well wishes from world leaders all day on Friday, including one from the Kim Jong Un, the autocratic leader of North Korea.

Kim, who has met with Trump three times, “offered his sympathy to the president and first lady,” the state-run Korean Central News Service reported. “He hoped they would soon overcome it.”

Kim’s own health, one of North Korea’s most closely guarded secrets, has been a subject of international speculation for much of this year and he has spent long periods out of the public eye.

Trump Tweets for First Time Since Announcing Covid-19 Diagnosis

The president tweeted, with a recorded video message, for the first time since he announced his coronavirus infection.

“I want to thank everybody for the tremendous support. I’m going to Walter Reed hospital, 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, so thank you very much, I appreciate it, I will never forget it, thank you.”

President Heads to Walter Reed Hospital

Trump will be taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday for a few days on doctor recommendations, the White House said.

Trump will work from offices at Walter Reed, and remains in good spirits with mild symptoms, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement. Trump has been treated with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. drugs, the White House physician said earlier.

“As a precautionary measure he received a single 8 gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail,” the physician, Sean Conley, said in a statement released by the White House.

Pelosi Tests Negative for Virus Friday

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined her fellow stimulus negotiator, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in testing negative for the coronavirus on Friday.

The speaker said earlier that she had “great sadness” on hearing of Trump’s infection and was hopeful for “a saner approach” toward addressing the health crisis. Pelosi also said on MSNBC that the president’s illness might change the tenor of the stimulus talks by emphasizing the seriousness of the pandemic.

Trump Donor Blasts ‘Reckless’ Attendance at Fundraiser

A prominent financial backer of the president said his decision to attend a New Jersey fundraiser after he knew that one of his top aides tested positive for Covid-19 was “reckless” and imperils other events in the election’s stretch run.

Dan Eberhart, chief executive officer of Canary Drilling Services LLC, said in a telephone interview that Trump’s campaign should have sent a surrogate once the president was aware that his aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Read more: Trump Donor Says President Was ‘Reckless’ to Attend Fundraiser

Facebook on Alert for Disinformation After Trump Infection

Facebook Inc. said it is on high alert for disinformation after Trump tested positive. The company has been sending conspiracy theories along to its third-party fact checkers, to ensure they label them as false more quickly than usual.The social media giant said its fact checkers marked as false an item that suggested Trump’s announcement led the U.S. Air Force to launch special planes to protect against an impending attack. The company also put a fact-check label on a meme of a Simpsons’ episode featuring Trump in a coffin, which never appeared on the TV show.

Facebook also said it will remove any calls for Trump’s death on the social network, or false claims that the election is being canceled or postponed. --Sarah Frier

Trump Campaign Events to Go Virtual or Be Delayed

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

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 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

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.

Vice presidential candidate 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 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 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

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

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