Vice Presidential Debate Still On for Wednesday, After Trump and Others at White House Test Positive for COVID

Trump Positive Coronavirus

The vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Democratic challenger Sen. Kamala Harris is currently scheduled to still take place on Wednesday, Oct. 7, despite President Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and others in their circle having tested positive for the coronavirus this week.

Both Pence and Harris tested negative for the coronavirus on Friday, in the wake of President Trump’s diagnosis.

The Trumps’ positive diagnoses were announced in the wee hours of Friday morning, not along after it had been reported that White House aide Hope Hicks had tested positive earlier in the week. The president, who on Friday afternoon was described by his physician as “fatigued but in good spirits,” later admitttted himself to Walter Reed Hospital, “out of an abundance of caution”; the First Lady, who has a “mild cough and headache,” is currently quarantining; their 14-year-old son Barron, who lives at the White House, tested negative.

Additionally, two journalists who cover/work at the White House have tested positive, as has one White House staffer who sits in the “lower press” area of the West Wing, CNN reports. Other positive tests from the White House are expected to be announced Friday evening.

A senior White House official told the AP on Friday that masks will still not be mandatory at the White House, but instead “a personal choice.”

Sen. Mike Lee, Sen. Thom Tillis, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, former Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway and the President of Notre Dame Rev. John I. Jenkins also tested positive for COVID-19, after visiting the White House last weekend for the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. (Barrett herself reportedly contracted the coronavirus over the summer, but recovered.)

It is unclear at this early stage if the next, town hall-style presidential debate, between Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden, will be held on Oct. 15, as scheduled.

The first and only scheduled VP debate between Pence and Harris will be held Oct. 7 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and moderated by Susan Page, Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today.