President Trump’s campaign has been thrown into chaos, adjusting its tactics, messaging and work environment following Trump and a number of top aides and political allies’ positive tests for coronavirus.
Trump is in the hospital. His campaign manager, Bill Stepien, and the Republican National Committee chair, Ronna McDaniel, contracted the virus. All of the campaign’s planned rallies and fundraisers featuring the President and his family are on hold. And Trump’s ability to debate Democratic rival Joe Biden again is uncertain.
Trailing Biden with one month left in the 2020 race, Trump is now stuck in a position he’s spent months trying to avoid: Faced with an election that is all about the coronavirus pandemic, with no way to change the topic.
Biden meanwhile has committed to getting tested more frequently as he continues in-person campaigning in the final month before Election Day. He is campaigning in Miami today, delivering remarks at 4 p.m. ET focused on the economy and the Hispanic community.
With ballots already available in 35 states and voting beginning in the swing states of Arizona, Iowa, New Hampshire and Ohio within the next week, millions of votes could be cast with Trump sick with a virus he has downplayed for months.
The next time Trump and Biden are scheduled to meet in person for a debate is October 15, for a town hall-style event in Miami. But it’s unclear now whether Trump will be physically able to participate.
The Commission on Presidential Debates is already preparing to make a change that is effectively a rebuke of Trump, whose guests declined a Cleveland Clinic doctor’s request that they wear masks at the first debate on Tuesday.
A source familiar with the matter said the commission will announce that everyone in the debate halls, except the candidates and moderator, must remained masked until conclusion — and those not wearing masks will be escorted out.