Trump again calls for in-person debate, citing doctor’s letter
What we know so far: Trump expected to return to public engagements on Saturday
Donald Trump added more turbulence on Thursday to the US presidential race by refusing to participate in the next presidential debate with Joe Biden after it was changed to a virtual event to guard against the spread of Covid-19, prompting both campaigns to propose postponing it a week.
On Thursday morning, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) said that the next presidential debate, due on 15 October, would be a virtual affair, with the candidates appearing remotely.
“In order to protect the health and safety of all, the second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which the candidates would participate from separate remote locations,” it said.
But Trump, who was hospitalized for three days after disclosing last Friday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, blasted the format change announced by the nonpartisan commission in charge of the debates and expressed concern that his microphone could be cut off at the event:
Trump says of Covid on Fox: ‘You get better. That’s what happens, you get better’
Another member of the White House press corps has tested positive for coronavirus after taking a rapid test
If their results are confirmed, this person would be the fourth journalist to have tested positive for Covid-19 after being exposed to an outbreak at the White House.
“In the immediate days ahead, we continue to insist that journalists who are not in the pool and do not have an enclosed workspace refrain from entering the indoor press areas of the White House,” the White House correspondents association said. “We would also strongly encourage all journalists to continue avoiding working from the White House grounds entirely if possible.”
Yesterday, BuzzFeed News pulled a political correspondent White House press pool due to coronavirus risks.
Trump doctor says he anticipates president’s ‘return to public engagements’ on Saturday
Washington warns those at White House super-spreader event
In an extraordinary step, the Washington, DC, Department of Health has released an open letter appealing to all White House staff and anyone who attended a September 26 event in the Rose Garden and inside the building to mark the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the supreme court to seek medical advice and take a Covid-19 test.
The letter indicates a lack of confidence in the White House medical team’s own contact tracing efforts regarding an ongoing virus outbreak that has infected Donald Trump, multiple senior staff members and two US senators, among others, The Associated Press writes.
Co-signed by nine other local health departments from neighboring jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia, the letter flatly states a belief that contact tracing on the outbreak has been insufficient.
It says the public appeal is based on, “our preliminary understanding that there has been limited contact tracing performed to date, there may be other staff and residents at risk for exposure to Covid positive individuals.”
It asks all White House employees, anyone who attended the Sept. 26 event and anyone who may have been in contact with those people to “contact your local health department for further guidance/questions regarding your potential need to quarantine.”
The letter represents a rising level of concern and a clear shift in strategy by Mayor Muriel Bowser’s government, which had previously remained publicly hands-off and said it trusted the White House’s robust medical operation to handle its own contact tracing and follow-up.