Biden tests positive for COVID-19, is isolating
White House says president has ‘very mild symptoms’
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and is experiencing “very mild symptoms,” the White House said, as new variants of the highly contagious virus challenge the nation’s efforts to get back to normal after two and a half years of pandemic disruptions.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden has begun taking Paxlovid, an antiviral drug designed to reduce the severity of the disease. He was isolating at the White House and “continuing to carry out all of his duties fully,” she said.
Biden’s physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, said in a letter that Biden had a runny nose and “fatigue, with an occasional dry cough, which started yesterday evening.”
“I really appreciate your inquiries and concerns,” Biden said in a video posted on Twitter. “But I’m doing well, getting a lot of work done.”
Biden, 79, is fully vaccinated, after getting two doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine shortly before taking office, a first booster shot in September and an additional dose March 30. The president will stop taking his blood thinner and cholesterol medications while receiving Paxlovid.
Jean-Pierre described the president’s symptoms as “very mild” and said Biden had been in contact with White House staff members by phone and would participate in planned meetings “via phone and Zoom from the residence.”
The White House took steps to show the president was busy working despite his diagnosis, with Biden tweeting a picture of himself making calls from the Treaty Room of the White House.
The president spoke by phone to lawmakers in Pennsylvania to apologize for having to cancel his planned trip Thursday to the city of Wilkes-Barre to promote his crime-prevention plans.
O’Connor wrote in his letter about the president’s treatment plan: “I anticipate
“He did not call the military. His Secretary of Defense received no order. He did not call his Attorney General. He did not talk to the Department of Homeland Security. Mike Pence did all of those things; Donald Trump did not.” — Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.
for messages to be relayed telling their families goodbye.
Pottinger said that when he saw Trump’s tweet he immediately decided to resign, as did former White House aide Sarah Matthews, who described herself as a lifelong Republican but could not go along with what was going on. She was the witness who called the tweet “pouring gasoline on the fire.”
The hearing aimed to show a “minute by minute” accounting of Trump’s actions that day and how rather than stop the violence, he watched it all unfold on television at the White House.
Trump had dispatched the crowd to Capitol Hill in heated rally remarks at the Ellipse behind the White House, and “within 15 minutes of leaving the stage, President Trump knew that the Capitol was besieged and under attack,” said committee member Elaine Luria, D-Va.
She said the panel had received testimony the confirming the powerful previous account of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson of an altercation involving Trump as he insisted the Secret Service drive him to the Capitol.
Among the witnesses testifying Thursday in a recorded video was retired District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Mark Robinson who told the committee that Trump was well aware of the number of weapons in the crowd of his supporters but wanted to go regardless.
“The only description that I received was that the president was upset, and that he was adamant about going to the Capitol and that there was a heated discussion about that,” Robinson said. The panel heard Trump was “irate.”
Rep. Luria said Trump “did not call to issue orders. He did not call to offer assistance.”
Chairman Bennie Thompson opened Thursday’s prime-time hearing of the Jan. 6 committee saying Trump as president did “everything in his power to overturn the election” he lost to Joe Biden, including before and during the deadly Capitol attack.
“He lied, he bullied, he betrayed his oath,” charged Thompson, D-Miss.
After months of work and weeks of hearings, committee co-chair Liz Cheney of Wyoming said “the dam has begun to break” on revealing what happened that day, at the White House as well as in the violence at the Capitol.
This was probably the last hearing of the summer, but the panel said they will resume in September as more witnesses and information emerges.
Plunging into its second prime-time hearing on the Capitol attack, the committee vowed close scrutiny of Trump’s actions during the deadly riot, which the panel says he did nothing to stop but instead “gleefully” watched on television at the White House.
The hearing room was packed, including with several police officers who fought off the mob that day. The panel dived into the 187 minutes that Trump failed to act on Jan. 6, 2021, despite pleas from aides, allies and even his family. The panel is arguing that the defeated president’s lies about a stolen election and attempts to overturn Biden’s election victory fueled the attack and have left the United States facing enduring questions about the resiliency of its democracy.
With live testimony from two former White House aides, and excerpts from more than 1,000 interviews conducted, Thursday night’s session added a closing chapter to the past six weeks of hearings that at times have captivated the nation and provided a record for history.
“You will hear that Donald Trump never picked up the phone that day to order his administration to help,” Cheney said.
“He did not call the military. His Secretary of Defense received no order. He did not call his Attorney General. He did not talk to the Department of Homeland Security,” Cheney said. “Mike Pence did all of those things; Donald Trump did not.”
The hearing showed never-before-seen outtakes of a Jan. 7, 2021, video that White House aides pleaded for Trump to make as a message of national healing for the country. The footage showed how Trump struggled to condemn the mob of his supporters at the Capitol.