President Donald Trump is working hard from the White House despite his COVID-19 diagnosis, as he keeps tabs on the Supreme Court nomination battle and other issues, White House officials said Friday.
“He’s had mild symptoms but he is hard at work,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters outside the White House. Trump is working so hard that “we’re having him slowed down a little bit,” she added.
Trump, 74, and First Lady Melania Trump, 50, tested positive for COVID-19 late Thursday, following White House aide Hope Hicks testing positive.
COVID-19 is a disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
Trump has spoken on the phone on Friday with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Graham, who is helping guide the approval of Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, told an event in South Carolina that Trump was “in good spirits.”
“The first thing he asked me is how’s the hearings going?” he said.
Republican Senate leaders say the turn of events won’t affect their nomination schedule. Barrett is slated to be questioned by Graham’s committee on Oct. 12. Two top Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Judiciary Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), said Friday that the hearing schedule is in peril and virtual hearings wouldn’t be acceptable.
McConnell said that he and Trump “talked business—especially how impressed senators are with the qualifications of Judge Barrett.”
Meadows told reporters outside the White House earlier Friday that Trump “continues to be in good spirits and very energetic.”
“We talked a number of times this morning. I got the five or six things that he asked me to do like I do every single morning. He is certainly wanting to make sure that we stay engaged,” Meadows said.
Based on federal health guidance, the Trumps are isolating in the White House residence until they test negative twice.
The Trump administration put into place protocols to try to prevent the spread of CCP virus but “even with a lot of the mitigating factors, what you have is a virus that is contagious,” Meadows said.
Meadows, Jared Kushner, Dan Scavino, and other White House staffers and administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, tested negative for COVID-19 on Friday. So did the Trump’s son, Barron.
The White House found out about Hicks’s positive diagnosis as Marine One was departing the White House to go to Trump’s club in Bedminster, New Jersey, officials said. While some staffers who had been in close contact with Hicks were held back, Trump and others continued to a fundraiser there.
White House operations officials determined it was safe for the president to go, McEnany said, describing the event as socially distanced and outdoors.
Federal health guidance says people should remain at least six feet apart, or socially distanced, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Officials declined to say what treatment, if any, Trump is taking, but said Sean Conley, the president’s physician, would be providing expertise in terms of care. Several experts said White House doctors would be considering remdesivir, while at least one suggested the re-implementation of the combination of hydroxychloroquine, zinc, and azithromycin.
A top White House health adviser said people shouldn’t panic over Trump’s positive test. Dr. Scott Atlas said he expects the Trumps to make a “complete, full, and rapid recovery.”
Trump’s positive test meant the cancellation of planned rallies in Florida, Wisconsin, and Arizona.
“All previously announced campaign events involving the President’s participation are in the process of being moved to virtual events or are being temporarily postponed. In addition, previously announced events involving members of the First Family are also being temporarily postponed. All other campaign events will be considered on a case-by-case basis and we will make any relevant announcements in the days ahead,” Bill Stepien, the Trump campaign manager, said in a statement.
Pence’s scheduled campaign events will move forward since he tested negative.
World leaders and members of Congress wished the Trumps well following the diagnoses.
“My best wishes to President Trump and the First Lady. Hope they both have a speedy recovery from coronavirus,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who went through a harrowing ordeal with COVID-19 earlier this year.
“I wish the President and First Lady a speedy recovery. This is a terrible disease, and it continues to impact families across the country. It’s as important as ever we all continue washing hands, wearing masks, social distancing, & taking the steps we can to keep each other safe,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said in a statement.
“I want to express my prayers and support to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. We know they tested positive. I know how tough and strong of a person President Trump is and how tireless he is, and I know he’s going to continue working for the American people, but Jennifer and I surely keep he and the first lady in our prayers for a quick and speedy recovery,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said during a hearing in Washington.
Other lawmakers accused Trump and White House staffers of endangering people’s health.
“I’m extremely troubled by the reports that the President’s family and staff refused to wear masks at the debate in Cleveland, and then held a fundraiser the next day—endangering all who worked at and attended these events,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said.
Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor, said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” early Friday that he helped Trump prepare for the debate for several days leading up to Sept. 29.
“No one was wearing masks in the room when we were prepping the president,” he said.
Allen Zhong and GQ Pan contributed to this report.