2020 Election Live Updates: Trump’s Positive Coronavirus Test Upends the Race


Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

As President Trump began to exhibit symptoms that aides described as “mild” after testing positive for the coronavirus, his campaign announced Friday that it had postponed all in-person campaign events involving him or his family.

“All previously announced campaign events involving the President’s participation are in the process of being moved to virtual events or are being temporarily postponed,” Bill Stepien, his campaign manager, said in a statement. “In addition, previously announced events involving members of the first family are also being temporarily postponed.”

Mr. Trump had planned to hold two rallies this weekend in Wisconsin, despite the fact that the White House coronavirus task force had placed the state in the “red zone” because of its high rate of infection and recommended maximum social distancing there.

Mr. Stepien said that Vice President Mike Pence, who has tested negative, planned to resume his scheduled campaign events.

The president has “mild symptoms,” Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, told reporters Friday morning.

Mr. Trump attended an indoor fund-raiser in New Jersey on Thursday even after his aide Hope Hicks had tested positive for the coronavirus, the White House acknowledged on Friday.

Mr. Meadows told reporters that the president’s top aides learned of Ms. Hicks’s test result as Mr. Trump was leaving the White House by helicopter en route to Joint Base Andrews for the flight to New Jersey.

“We discovered as Marine One was taking off yesterday,” Mr. Meadows said on Friday. “We pulled some of the people traveling in close contact.” But Mr. Trump went ahead with the trip and appeared before hundreds of supporters at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., both outside and indoors.

One person described the president’s symptoms as cold-like. At the fund-raiser on Thursday, where one attendee said the president came in contact with about 100 people, he seemed lethargic.

Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey urged people who attended the fund-raiser to get tested and said that the state was using contact tracing to try to find them.

A person briefed on the matter said that Mr. Trump had fallen asleep at one point on Air Force One on the way back from a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday night.

Although the president had faced off with Joseph R. Biden Jr. at a debate on Tuesday, the Biden campaign was not notified by Mr. Trump’s team that the president had tested positive before he announced it to the world, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The White House did not explain why it proceeded with the trip to New Jersey knowing of Ms. Hicks’s condition, given her proximity to the president. Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, who had traveled with the president and Ms. Hicks to a Minnesota rally on Wednesday, has told colleagues that she did not know Ms. Hicks was sick before she briefed reporters on Thursday morning. However, she was among those later pulled from the New Jersey trip.

Mr. Stepien told aides Friday in an email that any campaign staff members who came into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus should “immediately begin self-quarantine.”

“It is on all of us to continue to exercise the smart judgment and practices the campaign has long encouraged: wear a mask, wash your hands, socially distance” and work from home if feeling ill, the email said.

Mr. Stepien also wrote that the campaign office was staying open.

Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife, Jill, have tested negative for the coronavirus, their doctor said Friday, just hours after President Trump revealed that he and the first lady, Melania Trump, had tested positive.

“I’m happy to report that Jill and I have tested negative for COVID,” Mr. Biden wrote on Twitter. “Thank you to everyone for your messages of concern. I hope this serves as a reminder: wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands.”

Mr. Biden planned to go ahead with a campaign trip to Michigan on Friday, though he had not left Delaware by midday and an appearance scheduled for early afternoon was delayed until later in the day.

Mr. Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California, and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, also tested negative on Friday, the campaign said. Ms. Harris and Mr. Emhoff were continuing with planned campaign trips to Nevada and North Carolina, respectively. A virtual fund-raiser with Ms. Harris and former President Barack Obama was also going ahead.

Mr. Biden’s test result was disclosed in a statement from his primary care physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, that was distributed by the campaign. Mr. Biden appeared on the debate stage with Mr. Trump on Tuesday night, though the two stood far apart.

It can take several days after exposure for the virus to reach levels that are detectable by a test. People show symptoms on average around five days after exposure, but as late as 14 days.

Earlier Friday, Mr. Biden wrote on Twitter that he and his wife “send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery.”

“We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family,” he added.

News of Mr. Trump’s test comes after Mr. Biden — after months of limited travel amid the pandemic — had returned to the campaign trail. A train trip through eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania on Wednesday was his most vigorous day of campaigning in months. On Thursday, his campaign said it would resume in-person canvassing in battleground states.

In a note sent to staff Friday morning, Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, asked the team to “refrain from posting about the situation on social media unless otherwise directed by your manager,” and promised that “the health and safety of the entire team has been, and will remain, our number one priority.”

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Top Senate Democrats demanded on Friday that Republicans slow their speedy timetable for confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court in light of Mr. Trump’s diagnosis, saying that if Republicans marched ahead with hearings without an understanding of the full extent of the virus’s spread, an “already illegitimate process will become a dangerous one.”

Even as leading Republicans said they planned to continue “full steam ahead” in pushing to confirm Judge Barrett before Election Day, Mr. Trump’s illness and the turmoil it sowed at the White House and on Capitol Hill raised questions about whether their extraordinarily ambitious timetable could hold.

Senators Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, and Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said it would be “premature” for Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and the chairman of the panel, to commit to a hearing “when we do not know the full extent of potential exposure stemming from the president’s infection and before the White House puts in place a contact-tracing plan to prevent further spread of the disease.”

Judge Barrett, 48, herself tested negative on Friday, a White House official said. She had been in close contact with Mr. Trump at the White House last weekend around the unveiling of her nomination. She had also worked closely with Mark Meadows, the chief of staff, and Pat A. Cipollone, the counsel, and met with dozens of Republican senators on Capitol Hill, including the majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and Senator Mike Lee of Utah, who announced on Friday that he too had tested positive.

“Just finished a great phone call with @POTUS,” Mr. McConnell wrote in a tweet. “He’s in good spirits and we talked business — especially how impressed Senators are with the qualifications of Judge Barrett. Full steam ahead with the fair, thorough, timely process that the nominee, the Court, & the country deserve.”

Mr. Graham said on Friday that his panel would begin four days of public hearings on Judge Barrett’s nomination on Oct. 12, as scheduled.

Mr. Graham said he had spoken to Mr. Trump earlier Friday morning, and that the president “was in good spirits,” CNN reported.

“The first thing he asked me is, ‘How’s the hearings going?’ I said we’re on track.” Mr. Graham said. “We’re going to work hard to get this wonderful conservative young lady, talented beyond belief, Amy Barrett, on the Supreme Court.”

In the interview on Friday, Mr. McConnell suggested that the virus spreading through Republican circles could mean more lawmakers would participate in the hearings virtually. “This sort of underscores the need to do that,” he said.

But the Democrats said virtual hearings on such a consequential matter would be unacceptable.

Hours after his positive test for Covid-19, President Trump did not appear on a scheduled call with governors from across the country early Friday afternoon, and Vice President Mike Pence took his place on the call.

“I know many of you were expecting to hear from President Trump today,” Mr. Pence said, according to a recording of the call obtained by The New York Times. “The president asked me to take this call today.”

Earlier on Friday, governors’ offices had been invited via email to a “Call with President Trump.”

Mr. Pence told the governors that he was “pleased to report” that Mr. Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, were “well and just fine.”

“They will remain at the White House while they convalesce,” he said, before talking again about trying to slow the spread, as he often has in the past. Until there’s a vaccine, Mr. Pence said, “we will do as we have done from the very beginning, and that is we will focus on the most vulnerable as we work to slow the spread and develop the medicines and ultimately the vaccine that all of us anticipate and look to see in the days ahead.”

Earlier on Friday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York had said that the call with the president was to discuss health-care issues. “The president is supposed to be on that 12:15 call which would be good news because it would mean he’s working, the symptoms are mild,” Mr. Cuomo had said.

Mr. Trump has not appeared publicly or posted on Twitter since his 12:54 a.m. tweet Friday revealing that he and Melania had tested positive and would begin “our quarantine and recovery process immediately.”




Video Shows Trump Tossing Hats to Crowd Before Positive Test for Virus

Before President Trump announced that he tested positive for Covid-19, he tossed baseball hats into the crowd during his campaign rally in Duluth, Minn. on Wednesday.

[music] Crowd: “U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.”

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Before President Trump announced that he tested positive for Covid-19, he tossed baseball hats into the crowd during his campaign rally in Duluth, Minn. on Wednesday.

As Democrats offered well wishes to President Trump and his family on Friday, some of them quickly pivoted to scathing denunciations of a president who has tried to turn the wearing of masks, a basic epidemiological safeguard, into a culture-war issue to motivate his conservative base.

Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio — a state Mr. Trump won handily in 2016 but is now a jump-ball battleground — slammed the president and his family for flouting mask-wearing regulations at Tuesday’s debate in Cleveland, and criticized Mr. Trump for attending a fund-raiser even after a close aide tested positive.

“I wish the President, first lady, and White House staffers a speedy recovery,” Mr. Brown said in a statement. “I’m extremely troubled by the reports that the President’s family and staff refused to wear masks at the debate in Cleveland, and then held a fund-raiser,” he added, “endangering all who worked at and attended these events.”

He called on the president to cancel his big public events, where Mr. Trump’s MAGA faithful pack in tightly, sans masks, as a matter of pride. “He owes it to the 200,000 Americans who have died because of his callousness to wear a mask and cancel his super-spreader rallies,” Mr. Brown said.

On Friday, Representative Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, a pastor, said in an interview that he hoped the president’s diagnosis would be “a blessing” that convinced those who have dismissed the virus to take it more seriously.

“Maybe people who believed this was a hoax will now believe it’s real and begin to take precautions,” Mr. Cleaver said.

Mr. Trump has scrapped rallies planned for this week as he goes into isolation with mild symptoms; it is not clear when, or if, he will resume them.

Ben Rhodes, a speechwriter and national security official in the Obama White House, noted that Mr. Trump now found himself housebound after months of ridiculing Joseph R. Biden Jr. for remaining in his “basement” to slow the spread of the pandemic.

“There was an entire campaign built around dunking on Joe Biden for wearing a mask, not allowing big crowds, and doing virtual events from his home,” Mr. Rhodes, who supports the former vice president, wrote on Twitter.

Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut took aim at Mr. Trump for refusing to take precautions even after a series of close calls with infected people earlier this year.

“COVID didn’t sneak up on the President,” Mr. Murphy wrote on Twitter. “Since the spring, the White House has had multiple positive cases, including several people who have direct contact with Trump. And yet he didn’t wear a mask at public events or private meetings at the White House.”

Credit…Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg

Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, announced on Friday that he too had tested positive for the coronavirus, as the president’s diagnosis reverberated at the Capitol, prompting fresh demands for better protections for lawmakers.

Mr. Lee was at the White House on Saturday for Mr. Trump’s announcement of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee. Video posted on Twitter shows Mr. Lee hugging people at the event. He said he had tested negative at the White House on Saturday.

Mr. Lee met with the judge at the Capitol on Tuesday. He said he had sought a test after experiencing allergy-like symptoms and would isolate himself for 10 days.

The University of Notre Dame announced on Friday that its president, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, had tested positive for the coronavirus, just days after he had publicly apologized for not wearing a mask or adhering to social distancing guidelines during the Supreme Court nomination ceremony on Saturday at the White House for Judge Barrett, who is a professor at Notre Dame.

Senator Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, called for a coronavirus testing and tracing program on Capitol Hill.

“This episode demonstrates that the Senate needs a testing and contact tracing program for senators, staff, and all who work in the Capitol complex,” Mr. Schumer said in a statement. “We simply cannot allow the administration’s cavalier attitude to adversely affect this branch of government. It is imperative that all results be made public in order to contain a possible outbreak and so we can determine the need for senators and staff to quarantine or self-isolate.”

For months, Congress has continued to meet during the pandemic without consistent procedures for protecting its members or its work force.

On Friday, several lawmakers who had been close to Mr. Trump said they were getting tested, including Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, a close Trump ally who traveled with the president and Hope Hicks on Air Force One to the presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday. Ms. Hicks, a close aide to Mr. Trump, tested positive on Thursday.

The revelation also had immediate implications for Republican members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation, who flew with the president on Air Force One from Washington to a campaign rally in Duluth.

Representatives Tom Emmer and Pete Stauber of Minnesota said they were awaiting test results.

Lawmakers awaiting test results proceeded to vote on the House floor on Friday, following guidance from the Capitol’s attending physician, Dr. Brian P. Monahan, who said that interactions on Air Force One with the president did not require them to quarantine. He advised the lawmakers to continue their usual duties, including voting, as long as they wore masks and socially distanced.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump was diagnosed with Covid-19 nearly four years to the day after he seized upon a video of Hillary Clinton, afflicted by pneumonia and stumbling into her motorcade, to prove she was too weak to be president.

“Here’s a woman, she’s supposed to fight all of these different things, and she can’t make it 15 feet to her car,” Mr. Trump said at a campaign event in Pennsylvania on Oct. 1, 2016.

At that point Mr. Trump flailed his arms in a crude pantomime of helplessness, sidled a few feet from the podium, and impersonated Mrs. Clinton’s unsteady attempt to climb into a van after that year’s commemoration of the World Trade Center attacks in Lower Manhattan.

“She’s home resting right now,” he added contemptuously of his opponent, who was running a fever and suffering from a hacking cough.

Mr. Trump is now confined to the White House, battling a serious illness as his re-election campaign enters its final month.

Ms. Clinton was well enough to return to the campaign trail after a few days rest and a course of antibiotics, although her symptoms persisted for a few weeks.

The president is suffering from a potentially deadly virus with no similar treatment. And unlike Mrs. Clinton, who was told to rest but otherwise unrestricted in her movements, Mr. Trump is now under isolation, depriving him of the big public appearances that give him energy and provide a showcase for his brawn-and-bravura political brand.

“He weaponized Hillary’s health scare, and he clearly relishes the role of being a strong man, said Jennifer Palmieri, a top adviser to Mrs. Clinton in 2016, in an interview on Friday. “I’m sure he’ll try to figure out a way to make his own health problems work for him. But he may have come up against the one factor he cannot control.”

What Mr. Trump faces, first and foremost, is a personal health crisis as grave as any faced by a president in recent history: He is 74 years old and overweight, which puts him at elevated risk for complications.

The political risks are also potentially dire, focusing attention, as few developments have, on his mishandling of the virus at the precise moment he was trying to pivot to offense.

That threat is compounded by the fact that his predicament undermines his brand — vitality, stamina and strength — at a time when he has sought to portray his Democratic opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr., as weak, basement-trapped and lacking the mental or physical capacity to replace him.

For years, Mr. Trump has been deeply concerned about managing public perceptions of his health. Earlier this year he brushed aside suggestions he was in ill health after he teetered down a ramp at West Point’s graduation ceremony.

In 2018, his personal physician Dr. Harold Bornstein told CNN that Mr. Trump had personally dictated a letter, released during his presidential campaign, that concluded, “His physical strength and stamina are extraordinary.”

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, who is second in the line of succession to the presidency after Vice President Mike Pence, said she had been tested for the coronavirus after a lengthy in-person meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday, but had not yet received her results.

While Mr. Mnuchin had tested negative, according to a spokeswoman, Ms. Pelosi said in an interview with MSNBC that she had been tested “out of an abundance of caution.”

Ms. Pelosi, 80, said she had not been contacted by the White House about ensuring that the government would continue to function given the president’s condition, but said that military and other government officials were constantly updating their plans to do so. “That continuity of government is always in place,” she said.

Even as she said she heard the news of Mr. Trump’s diagnosis with “great sadness” and was praying for him, the speaker said she hoped it would be a “learning experience” for him and the country given the president’s refusal to take precautions against the virus.

“This is tragic,” she said. “It’s very sad, but it also is something that, again, going into crowds, unmasked and all the rest was sort of a brazen invitation for something like this to happen.”

In a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt, Senate Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, did not say whether he had been tested for the virus. But Mr. Trump testing positive, he said, “certainly underscores that the coronavirus is not concerned about the American election, and that it’s not going away until we get a vaccine.”

“It can sneak up on you, as it obviously did with the president and the first lady, so we’re being very careful and keeping our eye on everyone,” Mr. McConnell said.

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President Trump’s diagnosis does not appear to have significantly changed the behavior of some of his closest advisers, who were walking around the White House complex without masks on Friday morning.

A CNN reporter spotted Johnny McEntee, one of Mr. Trump’s top advisers and someone often in proximity to the president, without a mask, on his way to get a coronavirus test.

When the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, briefed reporters outside, he too was maskless.

So was Dr. Scott W. Atlas, a Trump adviser who is not an epidemiologist but whose counsel to the president that the virus is not resurging has taken root with Mr. Trump.

Dr. Atlas’s optimistic projections have put him at odds with many members of the White House coronavirus task force, and have sparked alarm among some Trump aides. Mr. Trump has repeatedly mocked mask-wearing and has fostered a culture at the White House where aides have not always felt comfortable covering their faces.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, a leading Democrat and the 2016 vice-presidential nominee, urged the Biden campaign to continue campaigning while following “good safety rules,” cautioning that despite the news that President Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus, this was no time to let up.

“They need to do what they’ve already done, which is be smart about being safe, keeping their staff safe and keeping voters safe,” Mr. Kaine said in an interview on Friday morning. “But they also need to be aggressive in getting around the country following good safety rules, and I suspect that they’re going to do that.”

“This is not a hiatus of the campaign,” he added. “We’re in the closing stretch of the campaign and they’ve got to be aggressively campaigning.”

Mr. Kaine also drew a contrast to the Trump campaign, which has been holding big, crowded rallies and often flouts public guidance on mask-wearing.

“The Biden-Harris campaign is focused on trying to model the right behavior because they’re compassionately trying to protect people,” he said.

Mr. Kaine served as Hillary Clinton’s running mate four years ago, and he is intimately familiar with health crises during the closing weeks of a presidential campaign. When it was disclosed that Mrs. Clinton had pneumonia, Mr. Kaine found himself under a more intense spotlight.

Like in 2016, the news about a presidential candidate’s health came this year in the days before the vice-presidential debate, which is scheduled for next Wednesday.

In the interview, Mr. Kaine grappled with how Mr. Trump’s positive test would impact the running-mate debate.

“Does it make the debate, you know, more important? Does it make the debate less important because people won’t be thinking about the vice-presidential debate?” he said. “It’s hard to say.”

Credit…Mark Makela for The New York Times

Plans for the upcoming debates remain in flux as the Commission on Presidential Debates considers its options in light of President Trump’s positive test for the coronavirus, according to two people with knowledge of the commission’s thinking.

A town hall-style debate between Mr. Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. is scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami, but members of the commission are in discussions with the Trump and Biden campaigns about whether the event can go on as planned, one of the people said.

Plans for the vice-presidential debate, set for Salt Lake City on Oct. 7, are also being reviewed by the commission, the person said.

The debate commission, a bipartisan nonprofit group, had been expected as soon as Friday to formally announce changes to the debate format in reaction to the chaos of Tuesday’s first matchup between Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump.

Those new rules are now likely to be delayed, as the commission focuses on the broader question of whether the upcoming debates can be safely conducted in the first place.

In an age when school classes, court trials and City Hall meetings are being held remotely on Zoom, it was unclear what the prospects for holding a remote debate might be.

Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Chris Wallace, the Fox News anchor who sat within twelve feet of President Trump while moderating Tuesday’s presidential debate in Cleveland, has some stark advice for his network’s viewers: “Wear the damn mask.”

“Follow the science,” Mr. Wallace said, appearing Friday on “Fox & Friends” and other Fox News programs. “If I could say one thing to all of the people out there watching: forget the politics. This is a public safety health issue.”

The anchor, who has expressed regret about the chaotic nature of Tuesday’s debate, said he planned to take a coronavirus test on Monday on the advice of his doctors, who said that any infection could take several days to generate a positive result.

Several Fox News opinion hosts have accused much of the national news media of overstating the dangers of the virus. One frequent Fox News guest who downplayed the risks, Dr. Scott Atlas, has since become a top pandemic adviser to the president.

On Friday, Mr. Wallace was unequivocal in warning against Dr. Atlas’s advice — even as his colleague, the Fox News anchor Sandra Smith, teased an exclusive interview with Dr. Atlas in which the doctor said he expected Mr. Trump would make a full recovery and return to the campaign trail.

“I’m going to say something and, folks, I’m just trying to give you the truth,” Mr. Wallace said. “Dr. Scott Atlas is not an epidemiologist, is not an infectious disease expert — he has no training in this area at all. There are a number of top people on the president’s coronavirus task force who have had grave concerns about Scott Atlas and his scientific bona fides.”

Recounting his experience at Tuesday’s debate, Mr. Wallace told viewers that members of Mr. Trump’s family had removed their masks after entering the debate hall in violation of the rules of the Cleveland Clinic, which had been contracted to oversee the healthy and safety protocols for the event. “A health person from the Cleveland Clinic came up to the first family when they were seated and offered them masks in case they didn’t have them, and they were waved away,” the anchor recalled.

Mr. Wallace — who said his own wife and children, who also attended, wore masks in the hall — estimated that he was sitting “10 or 12 feet” from Mr. Trump and that the candidates were roughly eight feet apart onstage. “I never got any closer to him than what you saw on TV,” he said, noting that Mr. Trump “had decided there would be no opening handshake — and thank God for that!”

Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

President Trump’s bombshell announcement early Friday morning that he and the first lady had tested positive for the coronavirus has set off a frenzy in the White House and beyond as politicians and operatives who have interacted with Mr. Trump in recent days have raced to get their own tests and, in some cases, report the results.

Here is a quick look at the people in Mr. Trump’s orbit and beyond who have spoken publicly within the last several hours about their health and the virus, according to official statements, announcements made on social media, and spokespeople.

It can take several days after exposure for the virus to reach levels that are detectable by a test. People show symptoms on average around five days after exposure, but as late as 14 days.

  • Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state

  • Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary

  • William P. Barr, the attorney general

  • Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff

  • Dan Scavino, the White House deputy chief of staff

  • Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser

  • Ivanka Trump, Mr. Trump’s daughter

  • Barron Trump, Mr. Trump’s son

  • Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee

  • Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker

  • Chris Wallace, the Fox News anchor and the moderator of Tuesday’s debate who said he plans to take a coronavirus test on Monday.

Credit…National Archives

President Trump’s positive coronavirus test has raised the possibility, however remote, that he could become incapacitated or potentially die in office if his symptoms worsened.

While that outcome remains highly unlikely, and few in Washington were willing to discuss it on Friday, the Constitution and Congress long ago put in place a plan of succession.

The Constitution makes clear that the vice president is first in line to succeed the president should he or she die in office, and can step in to temporarily take on the duties of the presidency should the commander in chief become incapacitated. Vice President Mike Pence, 61, tested negative for the coronavirus on Friday.

The ascension of a vice president under such circumstances has not been that rare in American history. Eight times a vice president has assumed the nation’s highest office because of the president’s death, most recently in 1963, after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, when Lyndon B. Johnson became president. In 1974, Vice President Gerald Ford became president upon the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon.

The Constitution leaves it to Congress to decide what would happen if the vice president also died or was unable to perform the duties of the presidency. Congress has passed several laws over the years. The Presidential Succession Act was enacted in 1947 after the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. (It was tweaked again in 2006.) The statute states that the speaker of the House is next in line, followed by the president pro tempore of the Senate, and then members of the cabinet, starting with the secretary of state.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 80, said on Friday that she had been tested for the virus out of an “abundance of caution,” but was awaiting her results.

Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, is the current president pro tempore in the Senate. He is 87.

Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times

Seventeen House Republicans voted Friday against a bipartisan resolution condemning QAnon, the viral pro-Trump movement, and rejecting its baseless conspiracy theories, days after a Democratic congressman said he was receiving death threats from followers of the group.

The House overwhelmingly passed the measure, led by Representatives Tom Malinowski, Democrat of New Jersey, and Denver Riggleman, Republican of Virginia, in a 371-18 vote, with Representative Justin Amash, Independent of Michigan, also opposed.

“Will we stand up and condemn a dangerous, dehumanizing and convoluted conspiracy theory that the F.B.I. has assessed with high confidence is very likely to motivate some domestic extremists?” Mr. Riggleman asked on the House floor. “It takes leadership from the top to stand up against extreme ideas like QAnon.”

The Republicans who voted against the measure included Drew Ferguson of Georgia, the chief deputy whip; Steve King of Iowa; and Paul Gosar of Arizona.

Mr. Trump has offered encouragement to proponents of QAnon, who believe the president is secretly battling a criminal band of Democratic pedophiles, saying of the group: “I’ve heard these are people that love our country.” After a QAnon-supporting House candidate, Marjorie Taylor Greene, won a Georgia primary in August, the president congratulated her on Twitter and called her a “future Republican Star.

Republicans have struggled to address the support they have received from QAnon members, and have embraced some congressional candidates who support or have said positive things about the movement. They have also energized QAnon followers with campaign attacks on Democrats, including in an advertisement run by the party’s House campaign arm that falsely accused Mr. Malinowski of protecting sexual predators.

Mr. Malinowski said Wednesday that he was facing death threats from QAnon followers after the release of the ad. He said he had confronted Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the National Republican Congressional Committee’s chairman, on Tuesday on the House floor about the threats.

Mr. Emmer, he said, denied knowing what QAnon was and said that he was not responsible for what others did with the committee’s campaign material.

Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader, said in August that “there is no place” in the Republican Party for QAnon supporters. Both Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Emmer voted to support the resolution on Friday.

Credit…Democratic National Convention, via Associated Press

Kristin Urquiza, who spoke at the Democratic convention in August and blamed President Trump for the death of her father, a Trump supporter, from the coronavirus, renewed her criticism of Mr. Trump on Friday, saying he had shown “no regard for human life.”

Ms. Urquiza, who attended Tuesday’s presidential debate in Cleveland as a guest of Joseph R. Biden Jr., noted that she had been sitting “about 15 feet away” from Mr. Trump “in the very first row of the debate hall” while he mocked Mr. Biden about his insistence on wearing masks.

“Donald Trump refuses to take leadership and protect Americans from this deadly virus,” Ms. Urquiza said. “Irresponsible is an understatement: this is criminal.”

Mr. Trump announced early Friday that he and the first lady had tested positive for the virus. It is not clear exactly when Mr. Trump contracted it, or if he exposed anyone at the debate.

Ms. Urquiza first drew attention over the summer when she wrote an obituary published in The Arizona Republic for her father, Mark Anthony Urquiza, a supporter of Mr. Trump.

In it, she wrote that his death was “due to the carelessness of the politicians who continue to jeopardize the health of brown bodies through a clear lack of leadership, refusal to acknowledge the severity of this crisis, and inability and unwillingness to give clear and decisive direction on how to minimize risk.”

Her activism caught the attention of Democratic strategists, and she was invited to speak in a video that aired on the first night of the Democratic National Convention.

Her remarks that her father’s “only pre-existing condition was trusting Donald Trump — and for that he paid with his life” were quickly repurposed for political advertisements targeting voters in several swing states.

In her statement on Friday, Ms. Urquiza said she was “terrified.”

“I know the darkest result of Covid: an undignified and lonesome death. Something I would not wish upon my worst enemy, present company included,” she said. “I am working to get a test as soon as possible and will quarantine until I am certain that I am not putting others at risk.”

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President Trump, who insisted when the coronavirus first emerged that it would not be a threat in the United States, spent months playing down the effectiveness of masks, initially refused to be photographed with one on and this week at the presidential debate mocked his opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr., for consistently wearing one.

He has softened his tone on masks and has been seen wearing one with a presidential seal, and in the summer he began encouraging Americans to wear them. But even his endorsements of masks — which health officials say are a key way to slow the spread of the virus — have come with caveats that have muddled the message.

Here are some of his notable statements since the beginning of the pandemic.




Trump Downplays Masks and Mocks Biden for Wearing Them

President Trump said he wore masks “when needed” but mocked Joseph R. Biden Jr. for regularly wearing masks in public.

“President Trump, you have begun to increasingly question the effectiveness of masks as a disease preventer, and in fact, recently you have cited the issue of waiters touching their masks and touching plates. Are you questioning —” “No, I think masks are OK. You have to understand, if you look, I mean, I have a mask right here. I put a mask on, you know, when I think I need it. Tonight as an example, everybody’s had a test, and you’ve had social distancing and all of the things that you have to — but I wear masks when needed. When needed, I wear masks.” “OK, let me ask —” “I don’t wear masks like him — every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from — he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.” “Masks make a big difference. His own head of the C.D.C. said if we just wore masks between now — if everybody wore masks in social distance between now and January, we’d probably save up to 100,000 lives. It matters.” “And they’ve also said the opposite.” “And no serious person said the opposite. No serious person.” “Dr. Fauci. Dr. Fauci said they didn’t.” “He did not say the opposite.” “He said very strongly, masks are not good. Then he changed his mind, he said masks are good. I’m OK with masks.”

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President Trump said he wore masks “when needed” but mocked Joseph R. Biden Jr. for regularly wearing masks in public.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

April 3, at the White House: “The C.D.C. is advising the use of nonmedical cloth face covering as an additional voluntary public health measure. So it’s voluntary. You don’t have to do it. They suggested for a period of time, but this is voluntary. I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.”

“I just don’t want to be doing — I don’t know, somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful Resolute Desk, the great Resolute Desk. I think wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens — I don’t know, somehow I don’t see it for myself. I just, I just don’t.”

May 21, touring a Ford plant: “I wore one” — a mask — “in the back area. I didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.”

July 19, to the Fox News host Chris Wallace: “I don’t agree with the statement that if everybody wears a mask, everything disappears.”




Is It Like the Flu? Is It a Major Threat? Trump’s Changing Coronavirus Message

After initially downplaying the potential severity of the coronavirus pandemic and sharing false and misleading information, President Trump has changed his position on key aspects of the crisis. Here are five examples.

“Have you been briefed by the C.D.C.?” “I have.” “Are there worries about a pandemic at this point?” “No, we’re not at all, and we have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine. I’ve always known this is a real — this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic. Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. We did one of the great jobs. You say, ‘How’s President Trump doing?’ They go, ‘Oh, not good, not good.’ They have no clue. They don’t have any clue. And this is their new hoax. I’ve always viewed it as very serious. There was no difference yesterday from days before. I feel the tone is similar, but some people said it wasn’t. We’re — what do you have, a very small number of people in the country right now with it? It’s like around 12. Many of them are getting better. Some are fully recovered already. So we’re in very good shape. We’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time. So you’re talking about 2.2 million deaths — 2.2 million people from this. And so if we could hold that down, as we’re saying, to 100,000 — it’s a horrible number, maybe even less, but to 100,000, so we have between 100,000 and 200,000. We all together have done a very good job. The flu in our country kills from 25,000 people to 69,000 people a year. That was shocking to me. But that’s a little bit like the flu. It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for. And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner. View this the same as the flu. This is not the flu. It’s vicious. It is so contagious. Flu has never been like that, and there is — flu is contagious, but nothing like we’ve ever seen here. Anybody that wants a test can get a test. That’s what — the bottom line. Anybody right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test gets a test. They’re there. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful. And in some cases, they’re in California where we have too many. And then in other cases, the distribution could be a little bit better for certain areas, but we’ve done a good job on testing.”

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After initially downplaying the potential severity of the coronavirus pandemic and sharing false and misleading information, President Trump has changed his position on key aspects of the crisis. Here are five examples.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Jan. 22, asked by a CNBC reporter whether there were “worries about a pandemic”: “No, not at all. We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”

Jan. 30, in Warren, Mich.: “We have very little problem in this country at this moment — five. And those people are all recuperating successfully.”


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