Tuesday, December 7

Trump and Melania test positive for Covid and suspend campaign events


Correspondent in New York

Updated:

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Donald Trump announced in the early hours of this Friday that he has tested positive for Covid-19. The US president recognized him on his Twitter account a few hours later that an intimate collaborator of his campaign team, Hope Hicks, recognized that he had contracted the disease.

US First Lady Melania Trump has also tested positive. “Tonight, the first lady and I have tested positive for Covid-19,” the president said on the social network. “We will begin our quarantine and our recovery process immediately. We will get through this together.

Hicks, who was previously White House communications director and is now a campaign advisor for Trump’s reelection, tested positive after sharing several trips with the president this week. On Saturday he accompanied Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania, as he also did in Cleveland (Ohio) in the debate last Tuesday. On Wednesday he traveled to Minnesota with the president for another election event. On these trips, he traveled with Trump on the presidential plane and helicopter.

Hicks is a trusted person of Trump. She has worked with the New York billionaire since before her presidential adventure and is one of the few people who regularly enter and leave the Oval Office. Like other Trump aides, he has been seen many times without a mask. For example, at the President’s events in Pennsylvania and Cleveland.

Hicks showed symptoms Wednesday night. On Thursday, Trump continued with his schedule of events and participated at a fundraising event in New Jersey, where he gave a speech and was in close contact with dozens of people.

At-risk group

The 74-year-old president is in the risk group for the virus, which has a special incidence in the elderly.

The disease surprises Trump just over a month before the presidential elections, on November 3, and in the midst of frenzied campaign activity. Trump has had events in several states this week. Most of those attending his rallies they do not wear a mask or keep distance of security. In the debate last Tuesday, he showed a mask that he took from the inside pocket of his jacket and joked about the habit of his rival, Democrat Joe Biden, of appearing with a mask at all his public events.

Trump has also scoffed at the precautions taken by Biden, who has done much of the campaign with hardly any contact with the voters, and through lectures and virtual events from his mansion in Delaware.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, Trump has tried to downplay the virus, which has caused more than 207,000 deaths in the US and caused an economic crisis with millions of jobs destroyed. At first, the president assured that the virus disappeared with the arrival of the heat and has maintained constant confrontations on the importance of the epidemic and the measures to combat it with the medical experts of your Administration. Shortly before her positive was known, in an electoral act on Thursday night, she said that “the end of the pandemic is in sight”, despite the fact that most experts see likely that there will be a second wave of infections.

As soon as the epidemic gave the United States a little respite and they began to lift the restrictions In late May, Trump decided to get back on the road. In June he held a rally in Tulsa (Oklahoma) in a closed space and one of the attendees, former Republican presidential candidate Hermann Cain, died of the virus a few days later.

Political uncertainty

The health status of the US president and his wife is unclear. The White House doctor, Sean Conley, said in a brief statement that “they are both fine and plan to stay home during convalescence». He added that he hopes that Trump “will continue to lead his obligations without interruption during his recovery.”

Conley, however, did not clarify whether Trump displayed the usual symptoms. A White House collaborator assured “The Washington Post” that I had not seen their presence, while another told “The New York Times” that the president had a throat clearing in his voice, but it may be normal after days of speeches.

The White House confirmed that the events planned for the near future are suspended, including a trip this Friday to Florida, a decisive state in the elections.

Trump’s positive opens a scenario of uncertainty in the US, with a high tension political climate. If the president could not serve due to illness or medical treatment, as happened temporarily with Ronald Reagan in 1985 and George W. Bush in 2002 and 2007, the vice president, Mike Pence, would take over.

If Pence couldn’t do it either, the presidency would be headed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi. «It is not something that we contemplate», Assured the chief of press of the White House, Kayleigh McEnany. “We are going to keep the president healthy.”

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