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The president said he was beginning the quarantine process immediately.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for coronavirus, the White House announced early Friday morning.
“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” the president tweeted early Friday.
Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg News reported Thursday evening that counselor to the president Hope Hicks had tested positive and was experiencing symptoms. Hicks has been traveling with President Trump and other White House staff in recent days, including to the debate in Cleveland on Tuesday and to Minnesota for a fundraiser and rally Wednesday.
The White House released a memo early Friday from Sean Conley, physician to the president, stating that “the President and First Lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.” Conley added: “Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties while recovering.”
The implications for the presidential campaign — and, really, the country — are unclear at this point.
Much of it depends on just how serious of a case the 74-year old president has. Neither Trump nor his physician have mentioned whether he is displaying symptoms, though Conley said he is “well.” Rallies are out for the foreseeable future, and it’s unclear whether the president will be able to attend the next debate on October 15, at the very least.
If the president’s case were to worsen to the point of incapacitation, it would be possible for the vice president and a majority of sitting Cabinet secretaries to invoke the Constitution’s 25th Amendment — making Mike Pence the acting president. But of course, Trump could also have a mild case and recover well before such a measure would be necessary.
During the debate on Tuesday, Trump mocked his opponent Joe Biden for wearing masks. ”I don’t wear masks like him. Every time you see him, he’s got a mask,” Trump said. More broadly, the president has repeatedly downplayed the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic, holding packed campaign gatherings, and arguing that the country needed to return to normal. The problem, though, was that the virus never went away — as Trump has now learned firsthand.