Dr. Sean Conley clarifies his statements on President Trump’s condition at Walter Reed
President Donald Trump’s condition has continued to improve since being taken to the hospital Friday due to symptoms from a COVID-19 infection, White House physician Sean Conley told reporters on Sunday.
Trump remains at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center but Conley said if he “continues to look and feel as well as he does today, our hope is that we can plan for a discharge as early as tomorrow to the White House where he can continue his treatment course.”
The White House late Sunday released photos that officials said show Trump on a phone call with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. It’s the second time the White House has released photos in an effort to assure the nation that Trump is in good spirits and able to carry out his presidential work.
The president announced early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the virus. More than a dozen White House staffers, senior Republican Party officials and members of Congress have also tested positive.
☕ The latest news you need to know:
- Trump left the hospital to drive by supporters gathered in the area.
- The White House has sent mixed signals about his condition and the timeline of events leading up to his transfer to the hospital.
- Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie checked himself into the hospital Saturday with mild symptoms after testing positive for COVID-19. He did debate prep with Trump and said no one wore masks.
- “Operation MAGA”: The Trump campaign announced Saturday that despite the president’s illness, it plans to resume in-person events, leaning on Vice President Pence and Trump’s children.
📆 Countdown: 30 days until Election Day, three days until the vice presidential debate, 108 days until Inauguration Day, 89 days left in 2020.
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President Donald J. Trump participates in a phone call with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in his conference room at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Not shown in the photo also in the room on the call is Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour) (Photo: Tia Dufour)
Biden calls for bipartisanship to fight racial injustice, coronavirus
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden spoke Tuesday near the Civil War battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, calling for an end to racial discord and partisan disputes, with passages echoing President Abraham Lincoln.
The former vice president said the country is in a dangerous place where hope seems elusive, as it was when the three-day battle in 1863 turned the tide of the war in favor the union. Biden didn’t break new ground with policies speech, but said the country must heal racial wounds that have existed for 400 years from slavery and overcome partisanship to battle the coronavirus.
“Too many Americans seek not to overcome our divisions, but to deepen them,” Biden said. “We must seek not to build walls, but bridges. We must seek not to have our fists clenched, but our arms open.”
Biden echoed Lincoln’s phrasing that the government must be of, for and by the people; that a house divided could not stand; and that the country’s better angels can prevail.
“We are facing too many crises,” Biden said. “We have too much work to do. We have too bright a future to have it shipwrecked on the shoals of anger and hate and division.”
Racial justice protests roiled the country after the deaths this summer of Black men and women at the hands of police. While violence, looting and burning cannot be tolerated, Biden repeated that he never supported defunding police, but that injustice is real.
Biden cited relatives of the victims of violence – George Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter, Jacob Blake’s mother – and basketball coach Doc Rivers in calling for change.
“I do not believe we have to choose between law and order and racial justice,” Biden said.
Biden also argued that the fight against the pandemic mustn’t be partisan, after the deaths of 210,000 Americans and projections for the figure to double by the end of the year. Biden said wearing a mask or social distancing shouldn’t be political acts, but the result of scientific recommendations.
“Enough. No more. Let’s put partisanship aside,” Biden said. “Let’s end the politics and follow the science.”
— Bart Jansen
Joe Biden tests negative
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign announced Sunday night that the Democratic nominee had tested negative for COVID-19.
“Vice President Biden underwent PCR testing for COVID-19 today and COVID-19 was not detected,” his campaign stated.
This is the third time Biden, 77, has tested negative for the coronavirus since he was potentially exposed at the presidential debate on Tuesday, his campaign said.
Biden stood more than six feet from President Donald Trump during the debate, which was two days before Trump announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Some research suggests that infected people may actually be most likely to spread COVID-19 to other individuals during the 48 hours before they start experiencing symptoms.
— Savannah Behrmann
Proud Boys, QAnon supporters at Walter Reed; reports
Gavin McInnes, founder of the Proud Boys, was among the Trump supporters gathered outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Saturday, according to CNN reporter D.J. Judd. NBC News reporter Josh Lederman reported at least one person holding a QAnon sign was among Trump’s supporters at the facility on Sunday.
Trump drew backlash during his presidential debate against Joe Biden for telling the Proud Boys, a known extremist group, to “stand back and stand by.” QAnon is a growing, yet baseless, conspiracy theory that falsely alleges the existence of a satanic “deep state” apparatus that supports a child sex trafficking ring.
Trump waved at supporters from the back of an SUV on Sunday before returning to the Walter Reed medical center.
– Jordan Culver
Attorney general goes into quarantine
Attorney General William Barr, who was last in the same room with President Donald Trump more than a week ago during a reception for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, has tested negative for the coronavirus four times since the positive test for Trump and first lady Melania Trump was disclosed early Friday, a Justice Department spokeswoman said.
Barr is self-quarantining and is expected to return to the Justice Department by mid-week.
— Kevin Johnson
Many states are planning on drastically different elections this year and mail-in ballots could be a big game changer.
Trump temporarily leaves hospital to wave at supporters
Claiming progress in his personal fight against COVID-19, President Donald Trump ventured outside for a little bit on Sunday to greet supporters who gathered at the hospital before then returning to the facility.
Trump, wearing a suit and a mask, waved to supporters from the back seat of an SUV as it passed by the demonstration at the Walter Reed medical center.
“It’s been a very interesting journey, I learned a lot about COVID,” Trump said in a video recorded at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. “I learned it by really going to school. This is the real school. This isn’t the let’s-read-the-book school, and I get it, and I understand it.”
VP and second lady test negative again
Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence were again tested for COVID-19 on Sunday and received negative results, the White House said in a statement.
The results are the third negative results the couple have received in the past week since President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for coronavirus.
Pence is expected to resume normal campaigning this week with no additional preventative measures meant to keep him from getting infected. Pence is also set to debate Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris on Wednesday night in Salt Lake City.
Biden heads to Miami
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will travel Monday to Florida for a community meeting and a nationally televised town hall in one of the most critical battleground states.
Biden and his wife Jill will visit the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami, the campaign announced Sunday. The Bidens will speak in Little Havana about the economy for the Hispanic community during the afternoon.
That night, Biden will participate in an 8 p.m. town hall on NBC News from Miami.
The visits mark a renewed interest in Florida. Biden and President Donald Trump are running neck-and-neck in the state, within the margin of error of an average of polling, according to the tracking site FiveThirtyEight.com.
But Biden’s polling among Hispanics in Florida has trailed that of 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton, who lost the state to President Donald Trump. The Obama administration’s reopening diplomatic relations with Cuba, while Biden was vice president, was contentious among the population of Cuban emigrants in the state.
Biden visited Tampa and Kissimmee three weeks ago. His running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, campaigned in Miami a few days before his visit.
— Bart Jansen
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Nearly 3 in 4 say Trump didn’t take virus seriously
Almost three-quarters of Americans doubt that President Donald Trump took enough precautions against contracting COVID-19, or that he took seriously the threat the virus posed to his health, according to a new ABC News/Ipsos poll.
In two separate questions, 72% said that Trump did not take the “risk of contracting the virus seriously enough,” nor “the appropriate precautions when it came to his personal health.”
Forty-three percent of Republicans took a negative view of the president’s statements and preventative measures, compared to 95% of Democrats who thought poorly of his response.
– Matthew Brown
Security adviser: Trump ‘firmly in control’
Robert O’Brien, national security adviser, told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that Trump is firmly in control of the government. O’Brien refused to discuss a hypothetical about transferring power to Vice President Mike Pence, as happened with former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush when they were anesthetized for colonoscopies.
“That’s not something that’s on the table at this point,” O’Brien said.
“We’re prepared,” O’Brien said. “We have a great vice president.”
O’Brien said he would be providing a national security briefing to Trump later Sunday from the White House with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.
“The president is firmly in control,” O’Brien said.
“I’m not going to address hypothetical,” O’Brien said. “We have plans for everything.”
– Bart Jansen
VP debate expected to take place as planned
Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” he had no concerns about Vice President Mike Pence and other surrogates continuing to campaign while the president is hospitalized.
Miller said he did not expect a virtual debate when Pence squares off with Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris in Utah on Wednesday.
“No, we’re in a campaign. We have a month to go. We see Joe Biden and Kamala Harris out there campaigning. Certainly, they’re not asking for remote debate,” Miller said.
Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager, said on ABC News’ “This Week” she expected the vice presidential debate to happen as scheduled Wednesday, so long as the commission makes adjustments for distancing and a mask requirement.
“We have every expectation that the debate commission takes all necessary precautions to ensure that everyone who attends the debate is safe,” Bedingfield said. “We have every expectation they will do that.”
Asked about prospects for the Oct. 15 presidential debate, Bedingfield said it will depend on Trump’s health, but that Biden is prepared to attend.
– Bart Jansen
Pence’s planned campaign appearances worry experts
Many health and national security experts are wondering why Vice President Mike Pence is not under isolation to reduce his risk of exposure to the coronavirus while President Donald Trump remains in the hospital with COVID-19.
Pence will be in Salt Lake City on Wednesday for the vice presidential debate against Sen. Kamala Harris. Thursday he will travel to Arizona for a rally, kicking off “Operation MAGA” – the Trump campaign’s return to in-person events after a pause due to the president’s illness.
Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told USA TODAY the administration need to be “prepared to deal with the possibility that an adversary will seek to take advantage” of the situation and that national security agencies must ensure the chain of command is secure.
As for the potential risk of Pence spreading the coronavirus, a spokesman for the vice president said he will practice social distancing and noted that he has tested negative. Pence’s office also released a statement from his physician saying he did not need to quarantine. But medical experts have said that COVID-19 can take up to 14 days to manifest, which is why they recommend quarantine for individuals who are in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the disease.
– Ginger Rough, Indianapolis Star
Trump previously had stake in drug companies
President Donald Trump previously reported that he earned capital gains from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Gilead Sciences Inc., the manufacturers of two of the medicines he is taking as part of his COVID-19 treatment plan.
According to a 2017 financial disclosure form filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Trump had a capital gain of $50,001 to $100,000 for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and $100,001 to $1 million for Gilead Sciences Inc. The form notes the information being noted was as of April 15, 2017.
Trump’s subsequent disclosure forms including his 2020 form signed July 31 did not list Regeneron or Gilead.
Trump received a single 8-gram dose of Regeneron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail as a precautionary measure, according to his physician Sean Conley. The antibody cocktail is being studied in four late-stage clinical trials and its safety and efficacy have not been fully evaluated by any regulatory authority, the company said on its page. Trump also is taking Gilead’s Remdesivir.
– Kelly Tyko
Keeping track of test results: What you need to know
➕➖ Who’s positive, who’s negative: Chris Christie, Kellyanne Conway and Hope Hicks and Bill Stepien are among more than a dozen positives linked to the White House. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., is the third GOP senator to announce a positive COVID-19 test since Friday. Others were Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Thom Tillis, R-N.C. Along with Joe and Jill Biden, also testing negative are Mike Pence and wife Karen; Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Here’s our running list.
NOTE: A negative test means the person was not infected at the time of testing. The virus’ incubation period can be up to 14 days, so a negative test earlier in that time frame does not mean a person was not infected.
US records most daily COVID-19 infections in nearly 2 months
It’s not just the White House dealing with an onslaught of cases: Friday’s nationwide case count was the highest daily total in nearly two months.
There were 54,441 positive cases of the coronavirus reported on Friday, the highest single-day case count since Aug. 14, when the country recorded just over 64,000 cases, per Johns Hopkins University data.
The country’s daily cases peaked on July 16, when 77,362 positive tests were reported.
Meanwhile, deaths have held relatively steady in recent weeks, as the weekly average is down a bit from a flare-up in late July and early August. On Friday, 906 US deaths from COVID-19 were recorded Friday.
– Jay Cannon
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