Correspondent in New York
The director of Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, Bill Stepien, has announced this Friday that it has tested positive for Covid-19, hours after the US president announced early in the morning that he has the virus.
Several US media reported the contagion of Stepien, the head of the efforts to achieve electoral victory. According to a member of the campaign told ‘Politico’, Stepien suffers «mild flu-like symptoms». The 42-year-old campaign manager will quarantine his home and direct operations remotely.
With Stepien’s contagion, almost a dozen senior officials from Trump or the Republican party have announced that they have tested positive: the president, the first lady, the advisers Hope Hicks (the first contagion to meet) and Kellyanne Conway (they also met Friday night), Senators MIke Lee and Thom Tillis, the Rev. John Jenkins, and Republican Party Chair Ronna McDaniel.
Most of them were on Saturday in the rose garden of the White House, on the occasion of the presentation of the judge nominated by Trump to the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett. Many of them sat in close proximity. It is feared that this act was a ‘super contagion’ event and that in the next few hours more cases of other attendees will appear.
Stepien is a key piece in Trump’s political future and his contagion occurs with the uncertainty of the president’s convalescence, admitted to Walter Reed Hospital and under experimental treatment, already one month after the appointment with the polls. Stepien was promoted to the position of campaign manager last July, replacing Brad Parscale, who had been at the forefront of the re-election campaign and who in the 2016 victory was key in the digital strategy.
The fiasco at the Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally in late June – Trump’s first attempt to return to the mass rallies Despite the pandemic – and doubts about the efficiency of campaign spending, they ended with the departure of Parscale, which was demoted to a lower position. He has barely appeared in field operations since then and was arrested in Florida last month for threatening to commit suicide.
The Trump and Stepien contagion occurs at a time when the president is trailing in polls against Joe Biden, and when his campaign needed a reaction to come back before November 3.