Photo via White House/Flickr
With only 32 days left before the general election, President Donald Trump announced early Friday morning that he and his wife, Melania, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
Trump, 74, was scheduled to hold a rally at the Orlando Sanford International Airport on Friday at 7 p.m. However, all the President’s public appearances have been canceled for at least the next 14 days, as his campaign announced that he and the First Lady will be quarantining and monitoring for symptoms.
“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19,” Trump tweeted
at 12:54 a.m. “We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”
The news comes at a time when the President is trailing behind opponent and former Vice President Joe Biden in all major national and key state polls, putting a damper on the president’s aggressive campaign travel and events scheduled over the next month. Biden and his wife have both tested negative for the virus.
The President's announcement also comes just hours after it was reported that a close aide to the president, Hope Hicks, had tested positive for the virus on Thursday morning, as well.
Hicks has been reported to be showing symptoms, yet the president carried on with a visit in New Jersey on Thursday, where he appeared at his golf club in Bedminster without a mask. He delivered a speech and interacted closely with a number of guests and supporters.
Trump campaign events have been noted for not enforcing masks or social distancing guidelines throughout the pandemic. Attendees are made to sign a coronavirus waiver ahead of events, absolving the campaign of any liability.
Trump rally attendees are made to sign a coronavirus waiver ahead of events absolving the campaign of any liability.
The president himself has publicly downplayed the virus, claiming it would be “over soon,” even as it infected over 7.3 million Americans and killed 208,000 more.
reached out to event organizers and the Sanford Airport management, but they did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Rep. David Smith, R-District 28, who represents the Sanford Airport area, said he was not planning to attend the Trump rally due to a previous personal engagement, but expressed his regards for the President and his wife during this uncertain time.
“I believe all Americans should hope and pray for a speedy recovery of the President and First Lady,” Smith, who has been vocal and active about coronavirus safety, said.
also reached out to the Republican Party of Seminole County, and Chairperson Linda Trocine said there were "no updates yet."
The First Lady tweeted
shortly after the President that she and the president are “feeling good” and have postponed all upcoming engagements. A White House memo
from the president’s physician, Dr. Sean P. Conley, addressed to the President’s Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, confirmed that "both (are) well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.”
However, later Friday morning, the President's Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, confirmed both Trump and Melania are having "mild symptoms." Around 11 a.m. Friday, she said in another tweet
that she was "looking forward to a speedy recovery."
It is unclear yet how this event may or may not change the President’s rhetoric on the coronavirus crisis.
Florida is an important state for the presidential bid. While President Trump will be indisposed in person, he will be performing his duties via electronic and telephonic means from the White House and members of his cabinet are expected to continue campaigning.
Mark Orival, security manager, at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando, says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is still expected to give a keynote address to the Florida Family Policy Council on Saturday.
“As of right now nothing has been canceled,” Orival said. “There will be temperature checks at the door, and guests are expected to wear masks and practice social distancing.”
Other Republican rallies and Trump campaign events are set to continue as schedule for now.
Please follow CDC guidelines and Orange County advisories to stay safe, and please support this free publication. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you news on how coronavirus is affecting Central Florida. Please consider making a one-time or monthly donation. Every little bit helps.