Oct 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Is the campaign over?

President Trump and Joe Biden looking down during their debate

Photo: Saul Loeb, Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis could bring both presidential campaigns and national politics to a screeching halt with a month left in the election.

The big question: Is this a temporary disruption, or will it effectively ground the president, Vice President Mike Pence, and the Democratic ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris?

  • And will the Senate confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court — which were supposed to begin Oct. 12 — be delayed because of lawmakers' proximity to Trump and other White House officials who may have been exposed?

Driving the news: Trump's planned roundtable today with supporters in D.C. and flight to Florida for a campaign rally already have been called off. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters the president is experiencing "mild symptoms."

  • Biden, who was in proximity to Trump only days ago on the debate stage, had been scheduled to campaign in Michigan. The campaign has yet to make a public statement on his next steps, but Harris is continuing with her planned travel to Las Vegas Friday, Axios' Alexi McCammond reports.
  • Pence, who is tested daily, and Second Lady Karen Pence both tested negative Friday, a spokesman said on Twitter.
  • Trump planned to keep a scheduled midday phone call on COVID-19 support for vulnerable seniors.
  • Officials also announced that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tested negative — and more announcements in that vein were expected to follow to offer assurances to lawmakers and the public.

What's next: The vice presidential debate was set for Oct. 7 in Utah. It's not immediately clear whether that will go forward as scheduled. The remaining debates between Trump and Biden were set for Oct. 15 and Oct. 22.

Flashback: In 2008, Sen. John McCain's decision as the Republican presidential nominee to temporarily step off the campaign trail in late September to attend to the growing financial crisis marked a turning point from which he could not recover.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with comments from White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

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