Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence tested negative for coronavirus Friday morning after President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump both tested positive, according to White House spokesperson Devin O'Malley. Noting that the vice president is routinely tested "every day" for COVID-19, O'Malley said Pence "remains in good health" and is wishing the Trumps "well in their recovery."
The president and his wife announced Friday that months into a global pandemic and just over a month before Election Day, they both had tested positive for COVID-19. At 74 years old, Trump is in the highest risk category for serious complications from coronavirus, which so far has killed more than 200,000 Americans. "Tonight, [the First Lady] and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!" Trump tweeted early Friday.
As has been routine for months, Vice President Pence is tested for COVID-19 every day. This morning, Vice President Pence and the Second Lady tested negative for COVID-19. Vice President Pence remains in good health and wishes the Trumps well in their recovery.— Devin O’Malley (@VPPressSec) October 2, 2020
The first lady also tweeted the news, writing, "As too many Americans have done this year, [the President] & I are quarantining at home after testing positive for COVID-19. We are feeling good & I have postponed all upcoming engagements. Please be sure you are staying safe & we will all get through this together."
Trump was last seen in public Thursday after returning to the White House from a fundraising trip to New Jersey, according to CNN, coming off of Tuesday's presidential debate with Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Neither candidate wore a mask during the socially-distanced debate, but did not shake hands with each other or the moderator. CNN reports that Biden is expected to be tested for coronavirus this morning in light of the Trumps' positive test.
Trump has repeatedly downplayed the deadliness of the coronavirus pandemic, saying in in one of many such statements on Feb. 26, "It's a little like a regular flu that we have flu shots for. And we'll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner." Earlier this month, journalist Bob Woodward revealed that while conducting interviews with the president for his book Rage on Feb. 7, Trump acknowledged the virus was "deadly stuff" not only for people in high-risk categories, but also for young people. In another interview with Woodward on March 19, shortly after the U.S. went into lockdown, Trump admitted to downplaying the pandemic, which he said he knew was possibly five times "more deadly" than the flu. "I always wanted to play it down," the president told Woodward, days after he declared a national emergency. "I still like playing it down because I don't want to create a panic."