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Monday April 19th, 2021 7:59AM

The Latest: Commission says Pence-Harris debate still on

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump testing positive for the coronavirus (all times EDT):

2:30 p.m.

The vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris next week will go on as scheduled after President Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday.

An official with the Commission on Presidential Debates confirmed that no changes are anticipated to the Wednesday night debate in Salt Lake City. Both Pence and Harris underwent tests for the coronavirus on Friday and tested negative.

Pence’s physician said in a memo that the vice president was not considered a “close contact” of anyone infected with COVID-19 and was not required to quarantine.

“Vice President Mike Pence remains in good health and is free to go about his normal activities,” said Navy Lt. Commander Dr. Jesse Schonau in a statement.

___

2 p.m.

President Donald Trump’s campaign manager says all campaign events involving the president and his family will either be turned into virtual events or postponed until further notice.

Bill Stepien, who heads Trump’s reelection, says Vice President Mike Pence, who has tested negative for COVID-19, plans to continue to his campaign schedule.

The announcement comes after Trump tweeted earlier Friday that he and his wife tested positive for the coronavirus.

It is not clear when the president was exposed. One of the president’s top advisers, Hope Hicks, tested positive on Thursday for the virus. Two others — Utah Sen. Mike Lee and University of Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins — who attended Trump’s Rose Garden ceremony on Saturday to announce the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court — have also tested positive for the virus.

___

1:55 p.m.

Comedian Joe Piscopo attended the fundraiser at Bedminster on Thursday, which he described as a small gathering in New Jersey for Trump’s friends.

“It was meticulously run, from the Secret Service to COVID testing to masking,” Piscopo told The Associated Press on the phone. The president came out of the portico to talk to guests seated at tables “yards and yards” away. Piscopo said he was at the back of the crowd and said, “We were all social distancing and it was all outside.”

He added, “I’ve never seen him more on top of his game, warm, funny, vulnerable.” The president gave a 30-minute speech. Piscopo said he could not talk about it specifically but said that it was “all positive.” The president then answered questions. Piscopo said the president greeted the crowd of friends and called out to him specifically.

___

1:30 p.m.

Minnesota health officials are urging people who attended events associated with President Donald Trump’s visit this week to consider being tested for the coronavirus.

The Minnesota Department of Health on Friday urged anyone with symptoms to be tested right away. Trump announced early Friday morning that he had been diagnosed with COVID-19, just two days after he held a campaign rally in Duluth and a fundraiser in a Minneapolis suburb.

The health department said community transmission was high in St. Louis County -- which includes Duluth -- before the rally, and attendees may have been infectious without realizing it.

___

1:25 p.m.

University of Notre Dame's president has confirmed he has tested positive for the coronavirus days after attending President Donald Trump’s announcement that he was nominating Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Rev. John Jenkins was invited to the Rose Garden ceremony because Barrett is a Notre Dame University alumna and law school professor. He apologized earlier this week for not wearing a mask at the ceremony.

In a message sent to Notre Dame community Friday, Jenkins said that he had learned that a colleague he was in contact with had tested positive for the virus, and he went into self-quarantine. Jenkins said he too was tested and learned he had the virus.

Trump announced earlier Friday that he and the first lady have tested positive for the virus. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who attended the ceremony, also announced on Friday that he has tested positive for coronavirus.

___

1:10 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is encouraging people who were at President Donald Trump’s campaign rally at Harrisburg International Airport on Saturday to get tested if they are feeling sick.

The department is asking people to download the COVID Alert PA phone app if they do test positive to anonymously alert people they may have come in contact with.

Thousands attended the outdoor rally, held hours after the president introduced his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, from the Rose Garden at the White House. Those at the rally were required to pass through a security checkpoint and get their temperatures taken.

Trump announced earlier Friday that he and the first lady have tested positive for the coronavirus.

___

12:45 p.m.

Joe Biden is moving forward with plans to travel to Michigan on Friday after he and his wife, Jill, tested negative for the coronavirus.

The Democratic presidential nominee had planned on traveling to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to talk about the economy on Friday morning. His trip was delayed by several hours as he awaited the test results.

He was tested for the virus after attending Tuesday’s debate with President Donald Trump. The president said early Friday that he and his wife, Melania Trump, tested positive for coronavirus.

Biden spent much of the spring and early summer close to his Wilmington, Delaware, home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But he’s stepped up his travel in the final stretch of the campaign, while still taking heed of public health guidelines.

He regularly wears a mask in public, something that Trump taunted Biden for during this week’s debate. And he mostly appears in front of small, socially distanced crowds.

___

12:30 p.m.

Joe Biden has tested negative for the coronavirus, his primary care doctor confirmed on Friday.

The Democratic presidential nominee and his wife were tested earlier in the day after news of President Donald Trump’s infection was announced.

Dr. Kevin O’Connor released the negative results in a statement issued by the Biden campaign. Biden was on the debate stage with Trump for more than 90 minutes earlier in the week. It’s still unclear if Biden will hold campaign events later in the day.

Biden, in a social media post, thanked his supporters for “messages of concern.” He added: “I hope this serves as a reminder: wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands.”

___

12:15 p.m.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee says he has tested positive for the coronavirus after experiencing “symptoms consistent with longtime allergies.” Lee visited the White House on Saturday for President Donald Trump’s announcement that he had nominated Judge Amy Comey Barrett to the Supreme Court.

Lee’s disclosure comes after Trump said in an early-morning tweet that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the virus. Lee said in his statement that he had tested negative for the virus when he visited the White House for Saturday’s event, which featured little social distancing and few masks.

The Utah Republican also met with Barrett on Tuesday in the Capitol. The two sat in chairs that were distanced several feet apart but took a photo before the meeting in which they were closer together. He also spoke to reporters after the meeting, removing his mask in front of the cameras as most lawmakers generally do.

___

11:55 a.m.

First lady Melania Trump says she is experiencing “mild symptoms” after she and President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19.

“Thank you for the love you are sending our way. I have mild symptoms but overall feeling good. I am looking forward to a speedy recovery,” she tweeted Friday morning.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said President Trump was also experiencing mild symptoms, but continues to work from the White House residence as he quarantines. The Trumps' youngest child, Barron, 14, has tested negative for the virus.

___

11:30 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he spoke by phone to President Donald Trump who’s in “good spirits” after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Republican leader said in a tweet the two “talked business” on Friday.

“Full steam ahead,” McConnell said about the Senate GOP’s plans for quick confirmation of Trump’s nominee Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

The leader made no reference to ongoing talks on an a broader coronavirus relief package.

___

11:10 a.m.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has been tested for the coronavirus in the wake of President Donald Trump’s infection and is awaiting results.

That’s according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share internal discussions.

Biden was on the debate stage with Trump for more than 90 minutes earlier in the week.

It’s unclear if Biden will appear at his scheduled campaign events later in the day. The Democrat’s campaign is expected to announce the results of Biden’s test and his travel plans later Friday.

___

11:05 a.m.

Chief of staff Mark Meadows says more White House staffers are expected to test positive for the coronavirus. He made brief remarks to update reporters on the health of President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump who have contracted COVID-19.

Meadows said the president was experiencing “mild symptoms” from the coronavirus, but would not describe them and did not provide details about any treatments that Trump or the first lady were being given while quarantined at the White House.

“They remain in good spirits,” he said.

Despite the startling news, Meadows said it was business as usual at the White House. He started his remarks by commenting on the most recent jobs report. He said Trump’s first question to him this morning was, “How’s the economy doing? How are the stimulus talks going on Capitol Hill?”

Meadows said the core staff members at the White House have been tested.

“I fully expect as this virus continues to go on, other people in the White House certainly will have a positive test result,” he said.

___

9:40 a.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she’s praying for the president and hopes his testing positive for COVID-19 might be a “learning experience” about the virus.

“Let us all pray for the president’s health," Pelosi said on MSNBC. She added, “This is tragic, It is very sad.”

The speaker said she was tested out of caution and is awaiting results. But she warned against “brazen” behavior that allowed “something like this to happen”

___

9:30 a.m.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris is wishing President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump a “full and speedy recovery” after they contracted the COVID-19 virus.

Harris tweeted Friday that she and her husband, Doug Emhoff, are “keeping them and the entire Trump family in our thoughts.”

The California senator and running mate to Joe Biden took a routine test Thursday, and tested negative for the coronavirus. She was not in Cleveland on Tuesday night when Trump faced Biden for the first presidential debate of the campaign.

Biden and Harris have repeatedly urged the use of masks and have embraced social distancing to stop spread of the virus.

___

8:55 a.m.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Friday that he and his wife Jill “send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery” after they tested positive for the coronavirus.

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

It was not immediately clear whether the former vice president had been tested since appearing at Tuesday’s presidential debate with Trump or whether he was taking any additional safety protocols. Trump and Biden did not shake hands during the debate but stood without masks about 10 feet apart for the 90-minute event.

___

8:30 a.m.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace says members of President Donald Trump’s family didn’t wear masks while they were watching the first presidential debate inside a hall in Cleveland, Ohio, Tuesday night. Wallace moderated the first presidential debate of the campaign.

Wallace said, “People in the hall did notice that while they were all wearing masks, including my wife and four children, that the first family did not wear masks during the debate. ... It is worth noting that different people treated the safety rules inside the hall differently.”

Wallace said on “Fox & Friends” on Friday that Jill Biden, the wife of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and members of her group all wore masks throughout the debate.

“On the Trump side of the hall, Mrs. Trump came in wearing a mask, but took it off once she said sat down,” Wallace said.

___

8:10 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for COVID-19 Friday morning, hours after President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Spokesman Devin O’Malley says Pence “remains in good health and wishes the Trumps well in their recovery.”

Pence is tested every day for the virus, O’Malley confirmed.

___

5:15 a.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is extending wishes of a speedy recovery to U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, and expressing “sincere support in this difficult moment,” according to a statement released by the Kremlin on Friday.

Trump announced on Twitter early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Kremlin says Putin sent Trump a telegram saying that his "inherent vitality, good spirits and optimism will help you cope with the dangerous virus.”

__

5 a.m.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he and his wife have tested negative for the coronavirus after they were examined on their airplane 20 minutes prior to landing in Dubrovnik, Croatia, on Friday.

He said it was the fourth time in two weeks he has been tested.

President Donald Trump announced on Twitter early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Pompeo says the last time he was with Trump was on Sept. 15, at the White House, for the signing of normalization agreements among Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

The top U.S. diplomat says he is reconsidering upcoming travel to Florida on Saturday and Asia starting Sunday as a precaution.

He says, “We are praying for the president and the First Lady and we hope they have a speedy recovery."

__

4:30 a.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is wishing U.S. President Donald Trump a “speedy recovery” from COVID-19.

Johnson tweeted Friday morning: “My best wishes to President Trump and the First Lady. Hope they both have a speedy recovery from coronavirus.”

Johnson was hospitalized for a week in April after he contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. After he was released, the prime minister thanked doctors and nurses at St. Thomas’s Hospital for saving his life. Johnson was treated in the hospital’s intensive care unit, where he received oxygen but was not put on a ventilator.

Trump announced on Twitter early Friday that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus.

__

4:20 a.m.

The Kremlin is sending wishes of speedy recovery to U.S. President Donald Trump after he said he and his wife Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus.

“We certainly wish President Trump a speedy and easy recovery,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Friday.

Russia currently has the fourth largest coronavirus caseload in the world with over 1.19 million confirmed cases and more than 21,000 deaths. The outbreak in Russia started to grow rapidly in September, with health officials reporting 9,412 new confirmed cases Friday in the largest daily surge since late May.

__

3:55 a.m.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is wishing the U.S. president and the first lady a “full and speedy recovery” after they said they tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Like millions of Israelis, Sara and I are thinking of President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and wish our friends a full and speedy recovery,” Netanyahu tweeted on his official account, referring to his wife.

Netanyahu led an Israeli delegation to the White House for the Sept. 15 signing of normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain at an outdoor ceremony attended by hundreds of people. Attendees did not practice social distancing and most guests did not wear masks.

__

2:20 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence says he and his wife, Karen, are sending their “love and prayers” to President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump after the Trumps announced early Friday that they had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Pence says on Twitter, “We join millions across America praying for their full and swift recovery.”

Trump’s positive test came just hours after he confirmed late Thursday that senior aide Hope Hicks had come down with the virus.

The White House had no immediate comment on whether Pence had been tested after the Trumps’ and Hicks’ diagnoses.

__

1:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s White House doctor has issued a statement saying the president will continue carrying out his duties “without disruption” after contracting the coronavirus.

Dr. Sean Conley, the physician to the president, says the president and first lady Melania Trump “are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.”

Trump has canceled plans to attend a fundraiser and to fly to Florida for a rally on Friday, but he did keep on his schedule a previously planned midday telephone call “on COVID-19 support to vulnerable seniors.”

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