Re­ac­tions around the world range from well wishes to crit­i­cism.

As Trump is flown to a hos­pi­tal, Bi­den re­mains cau­tious

Daily Press - - Front Page - By Steve Peo­ples and Bill Bar­row

An elec­tion year al­ready defined by a cas­cade of na­tional crises de­scended fur­ther into chaos Fri­day, with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump declar­ing that he’s tested pos­i­tive for the coro­n­avirus af­ter con­sis­tently play­ing down­the threat and later flown to a mil­i­tary hos­pi­tal.

Demo­cratic chal­lenger Joe Bi­den, who spent 90 minutes on stage with Trump in their Tues­day de­bate, tested neg­a­tive.

“This is not a mat­ter of pol­i­tics. It’s a brac­ing re­minder to all of us,” Bi­den de­clared at a speech in Grand Rapids, Michi­gan. “We have to take this virus se­ri­ously. It’s not go­ing away au­to­mat­i­cally.”

WhileBi­den­vowed­to­con­tinue his cau­tious ap­proach to cam­paign­ing dur­ing a pan­demic, the pres­i­dent’s di­ag­no­sis in­jected even greater un­cer­tainty into an elec­tion al­ready plagued by crises that have ex­ploded un­der Trump’s watch: the pan­demic, dev­as­tat­ing eco­nomic fall­out and sweep­ing civil un­rest. With mil­lions of Amer­i­cans al­ready vot­ing, the coun­try on Fri­day entered un­charted ter­ri­tory that threat­ened to rat­tle global mar­kets and po­lit­i­cal de­bates around the world.

Much de­pends on the ex­tent of Trump’s symp­toms, but, at the least, the de­vel­op­ment fo­cuses the cam­paign right where Bi­den has put his em­pha­sis for months — and where Repub­li­cans don’t want it: on Trump’s un­even re­sponse to a pan

demic that has killed more than 208,000 peo­ple in the U.S. And for the short term, it has grounded Trump in a quar­an­tine, deny­ing him the large pub­lic ral­lies that fuel his cam­paign just a month be­fore the elec­tion.

The White House re­ported that Trump was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing mild symp­toms and was in quar­an­tine. His cam­paign an­nounced Fri­day af­ter­noon that all of Trump’s sched­uled cam­paign events were be­ing moved on­line or tem­po­rar­ily post­poned. But late in the af­ter­noon, a he­li­copter was at the White House and took Trump to Wal­ter Reed Na­tional Mil­i­tary Med­i­cal Cen­ter, where he is ex­pected to be hos­pi­tal

ized for a “few days.”

Trump’s fam­ily, a steady pres­ence on the cam­paign trail, was also grounded.

Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee Chair Ronna McDaniel has tested pos­i­tive for the virus as well. But Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence, who has tested neg­a­tive, will at­tend his cam­paign events as planned.

“Trump’s main ad­van­tages, in­clud­ing in­cum­bency, have been re­moved. Ral­lies, his main ve­hi­cle for mo­bi­liz­ing his base, will no­longer be pos­si­ble. Fly-bys with Air Force One as a back­drop are gone,” said Repub­li­can strate­gist Rick Tyler, a fre­quent Trump critic.

He­saidthatTr­ump’sin­fec­tion also “fun­da­men­tally

un­der­cuts his en­tire cam­paign strat­egy, which was to ig­nore the pan­demic and make un­sub­stan­ti­ated claims that we’ve turned the cor­ner.”

Bi­den, mean­while, is not ex­pected to al­ter his plans sig­nif­i­cantly even as his cam­paign an­nounced that it would be tak­ing all of its neg­a­tive at­tack ads off the air.

The Demo­cratic nom­i­nee has­been­much­more­cau­tious in his ap­proach to cam­paign events and con­tact with vot­ers than Trump. Hav­ingspent much of the spring and sum­mer avoid­ing crowds, Bi­den has held far fewer pub­lic events since re­turn­ing to the cam­paign trail last month — all of them with small crowds, if any, fol­low­ing so­cial dis

tanc­ing guide­lines. Only on Thurs­day did Bi­den’s cam­paign an­nounce that it would re­sume door-to-door can­vass­ing in ad­di­tion to its phone and dig­i­tal out­reach to vot­ers.

Bi­den trav­eled from Delaware to Michi­gan on Fri­day af­ter­noon for a cam­paign event, while Jill Bi­den was at­tend­ing a sep­a­rate event in New Hamp­shire. Bi­den’s run­ning mate, Ka­malaHar­ris, made her pre­vi­ously sched­uled trip to Las Ve­gas as well.

The cam­paign con­firmed Bi­den, his wife and Har­ris all tested neg­a­tive for the virus.

“Above all, the news is a re­minder that we as a na­tion need to do bet­ter in deal­ing with the pan­demic,“Bi­den said in Grand Rapids, call­ing for a na­tion­wide mask man­date as he spoke wear­ing a sur­gi­cal­mask.“Don’tjust­doit for your­selves — do it for the peo­ple you love.”

The pres­i­dent now faces tremen­dous pres­sure to ad­just his rhetoric and cam­paign tac­tics af­ter spend­ing much of the year down­play­ing the sever­ity of the virus and re­peat­edly declar­ing COVID-19 would “dis­ap­pear.”

As re­cently as Tues­day, Trump ridiculed Bi­den on na­tional tele­vi­sion for his cau­tious ap­proach.

“I put a mask on when I think I need it,” Trump said dur­ing the de­bate. “I don’t wear masks like him. Ev­ery time you see him he’s got a mask.”

Bi­den laughed in re­sponse. “Makes a big dif­fer­ence” in pre­vent­ingCOVID-19spread, he said, adding that “no se­ri­ous per­son” ar­gues oth­er­wise.

Two ad­di­tional de­bates are sched­uled for Oct. 15 and Oct. 22. The Com­mis­sion on Pres­i­den­tial De­bates has not yet com­mented on any changes in the de­bate sched­ule or health pro­to­cols.

The de­bate com­mis­sion said next week’s vice pres­i­den­tial de­bate is on as sched­uled.

Should Trump emerge with no vis­i­ble ef­fects, he could de­clare a speedy re­cov­ery as proof that he’s been right about COVID-19 be­ing overblown. But that still would be at odds both with es­tab­lished sci­ence and with what Trump him­self has said pri­vately. Record­ings by jour­nal­ist Bob Wood­ward cap­tured Trump in early Fe­bru­ary de­tail­ing the “deadly” con­se­quences of coro­n­avirus, con­trary to his pub­lic dis­mis­sive­ness.


The cam­paign pit­ting Pres­i­dent Trump and Joe Bi­den has been up­ended af­ter Trump tested pos­i­tive for the coro­n­avirus.

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