Following the announcement that President Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19, a spokesman for Vice President Mike Pence announced Friday that Pence and his wife, Karen, had tested negative.
“As has been routine for months, Vice President Pence is tested for COVID-19 every day,” wrote Devin O’Malley, Pence’s press secretary. “This morning, Vice President Pence and the Second Lady tested negative for COVID-19. Vice President Pence remains in good health and wishes the Trumps well in their recovery.”
Just before 1 a.m. ET Friday, Trump announced that both he and the first lady had tested positive for the virus, a few hours after Bloomberg reported that Trump’s close aide Hope Hicks had tested positive. Trump and his team had been traveling the country for the campaign, generally not wearing masks. At the first presidential debate, on Tuesday, held at the Cleveland Clinic, members of Trump’s delegation refused to wear masks in the audience, in violation of health regulations in Ohio.
Pence tweeted wishing the president and first lady a speedy recovery.
Karen and I send our love and prayers to our dear friends President @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS Melania Trump. We join millions across America praying for their full and swift recovery. God bless you President Trump & our wonderful First Lady Melania.
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) October 2, 2020
At least 207,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus and more than 7 million have been infected, both numbers the highest of any nation. On Monday, Trump and Pence announced a new COVID-19 testing program. Neither wore a mask.
If Trump were incapacitated by the virus, Pence would take over presidential duties via the 25th Amendment. After British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tested positive for the virus earlier this year, he spent time in an intensive care unit. He has since recovered. At age 74, Trump is in the at-risk group for complications, and Bloomberg reported that aides said the president wasn’t feeling well on Wednesday.
Pence is set to debate Sen. Kamala Harris next week, and it’s likely he’ll have to pick up the campaigning slack, as Trump has already canceled scheduled events on Friday and Saturday. (Trump did attend a fundraiser in New Jersey on Thursday night despite Hicks’s positive test.) Many voters are already casting ballots across the country in an election in which Trump trails in both national and key swing state polls.
Trump and Pence have continually said the country had turned the corner in regard to the virus. The president publicly downplayed the virus for months despite telling journalist Bob Woodward in private he knew it was deadly. In June, Pence wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in which he said that “we are winning the fight against the invisible enemy.”
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