Fox News anchor Chris Wallace revealed that President Donald Trump arrived late to last week's debate and was not tested for COVID-19 in the state of Ohio. In a Fox News appearance on Friday, Wallace said that "an honor system" was used, with organizers trusting that Trump had been tested for the coronavirus back at the White House. This revelation raises new questions about Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis, and how many people he may have spread the virus to himself.
Wallace said that Trump arrived in Cleveland, Ohio, just hours before his debate with former Vice President Joe Biden for the 2020 presidential election, meaning there was not enough time to test Trump and get a result. Speaking to fellow anchor Bill Hemmer, Wallace said: "the difference was I arrived on Sunday, you arrived on Monday, [the Trump family] didn't arrive until Tuesday afternoon. So for them to get tested, there wouldn't have been enough time to have the test and have the debate at 9:00 that night."
"They didn't show up until 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 in the afternoon. There was an honor system when it came to the people that came into the hall from the two campaigns," Wallace added.
The Cleveland Clinic, which hosted the debate, confirmed this new for Hemmer, saying: "the candidates themselves... had been tested and tested negative by their respective campaigns. They weren't tested by the clinic based on that statement, Chris. And to me, that sounds like an honor system."
Trump announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19 in the early hours of Friday morning, shortly after White House senior adviser Hope Hicks had tested positive. Since then, several other prominent Republicans have tested positive, including Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Utah Sen. Mike Lee. First Lady Melania Trump has also tested positive and is in isolation.
Trump's condition is not clear, as he was hospitalized without warning on Friday evening. The White House claimed that the president was going to Walter Reed Military Medical Center "out of an abundance of caution," and that he would be receiving a single dose of an antibody treatment that is still in the human trials phase of testing. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals produces it.
So far, Trump's case has not been linked to any other coronavirus cases from the debate on Tuesday, but it has drawn fresh criticism for his rhetoric on the virus. It has also put a spotlight on his family for pointedly refusing to wear masks despite the requirement by debate organizers.