October 2: Trump's Covid diagnosis

By Veronica Rocha, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 12:44 a.m. ET, October 3, 2020
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3:02 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Cleveland Clinic confirms not all presidential debate attendees wore masks

From CNN's Nadia Kounang

U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and former Vice President Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio.
U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and former Vice President Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on September 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. Olivier Douliery/Pool/Getty Images

The Cleveland Clinic, that advises the Commission on Presidential Debates, confirmed that not all individuals adhered to mask wearing requirements during Tuesday’s presidential debate.

“Individuals entering the debate hall were masked and in some cases removed their masks once seated,” the medical center said in a statement. “A Cleveland Clinic physician did offer audience members masks, but some did not adhere to the requirement.”

In an earlier statement on Friday, the Cleveland Clinic said it believes there is a “low risk of exposure to our guests,” and it had safety requirements that align with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, “including social distancing, hand sanitizing, temperature checks and masking.

"Most importantly, everyone permitted inside the debate hall tested negative for Covid-19 prior to entry. Individuals traveling with both candidates, including the candidates themselves, had been tested, and tested negative by their respective campaigns," the organization said.

The Cleveland Clinic has not yet responded to CNN’s request for comment about when or how attendees were tested.

3:06 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Mike Pence's doctor says he "remains in good health and is free to go about his normal activities"

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal and Maggie Fox 

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at an event hosted by The Family Leader Foundation Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa.
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at an event hosted by The Family Leader Foundation Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. Charlie Neibergall/AP

Vice President Mike Pence tested negative for Covid-19 and does not need to quarantine, his physician said in a memo Friday.

Pence tested negative Friday morning, Dr. Jesse T. Schonau said in a statement, confirming a tweet from the vice president's office earlier in the day.

“Under the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Vice President is not considered a close contact with any individuals who have tested positive for Covid, including President Donald J. Trump. Vice President Mike Pence does not need to quarantine,” the statement said. “Vice President Mike Pence remains in good health and is free to go about his normal activities.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance is that close contact is defined as a person standing within six feet or closer for 15 minutes or more.

The statement from Pence's doctor implies the vice president hasn’t been in close range of the President, or anyone else who has tested positive at the White House, at a rally or on a stage.

CNN has reported that Pence was in the Oval Office with the President on Tuesday. 

Pence is still planning on traveling to Salt Lake City Monday ahead of his scheduled debate with Sen. Kamala Harris Wednesday, an administration official told CNN. 

In a memo released moments ago, his physician says he does not need to quarantine because he was not considered a close contact with President Trump. 

Some more insight: During an interview on CNN, former acting CDC Director Dr. Richard Besser cautioned that frequent testing is one of the best ways to track Covid-19 infections.

“In these circumstances, where you're talking about heads of state or major leaders in our country, you would expect they would get tested frequently to see if they develop infection. The importance of quarantine is that with this infection, a significant number of people infected will show no symptoms. And by quarantining, you can help ensure one case doesn't lead to a small cluster or mini outbreak,” he said.

Besser also underscored that negative tests are not a shield against the virus.

“You could be infected and not have a positive test for close to two weeks, which is why the recommendations are that you be quarantined and you stay away from people in that period," he added.

2:26 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

University of Utah still planning to host the vice presidential debate next week

From CNN's Ryan Nobles

Banners hang from the outside of Kingsbury Hall ahead of the vice presidential debate between Republican Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic nominee Kamala Harris on Friday at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
Banners hang from the outside of Kingsbury Hall ahead of the vice presidential debate between Republican Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic nominee Kamala Harris on Friday at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Julio Cortez/AP

Shawn Wood, the community liaison and communications specialist for the University of Utah, told CNN that the school is still moving forward with plans to hold the vice presidential debate there on Wednesday.

“We are still planning to hold the event here on Wednesday and will continue to do so until we hear otherwise," Wood said.

At this point, the Commission on Presidential Debates has not responded to repeated inquiries as to whether or not plans for future debates will change as a result of the President’s Covid-19 diagnosis.

As of today, both Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris have tested negative and the Trump campaign says Pence will continue his campaign duties as normal. 

2:21 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

South Dakota governor attended closed-press fundraiser with Trump this week

From CNN's Samira Said and Kay Jones

In this Dec. 12, 2018 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks to then-Gov.-elect Kristi Noem, during a meeting at White House in Washington.
In this Dec. 12, 2018 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks to then-Gov.-elect Kristi Noem, during a meeting at White House in Washington. Evan Vucci/AP

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem attended the closed-press fundraiser in Minneapolis with President Trump on Wednesday, her spokesperson, Ian Fury, told CNN on Friday. 

When asked if the governor would get tested for Covid-19 due to the President's positive test, Fury told CNN in a statement that she tested negative on Tuesday night, the evening prior to the event. 

“She is not in close contact of anyone who has tested positive, including the President," Fury said in a statement. "As she has throughout this pandemic, the Governor monitors her symptoms on a daily basis and is tested regularly.“

On Monday, Noem announced that she will be calling a special session of the state legislature to meet on Oct. 5. The purpose is to consider legislations related to the use of Coronavirus Relief Funds, a press release issued by the state said. 

2:14 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Trump is making calls and will appear publicly at some point, White House press secretary says

From CNN's Betsy Klein

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks with members of the media at the White House in Washington, on Friday.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks with members of the media at the White House in Washington, on Friday. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany reiterated that President Trump is “in very good spirits and having mild symptoms,” but is making calls from the White House residence and will appear publicly in some capacity in the coming days. 

“We're having to hold him back a little here, because he's hard at work. He spoke to Sen. McConnell today, Sen. Graham, I just spoke with the chief of staff and President Trump has talked to him about emergency declarations and stimulus. So we're just trying to make sure that he takes it easy, but he is hard at work and will continue to,” she said during an appearance on Fox News.

She suggested that Trump will appear publicly in the coming days but declined to provide additional details. 

“It's safe to say that you'll be seeing and hearing from the President as he moves forward with his working schedule. We're exploring a number of different ways to do that. But he wants to talk to the American people. I can tell you this about President Trump: This man loves the American people, loves speaking to them directly. And nothing's going to stop them from doing just that,” she said.

She was asked about a New York Times report questioning whether Trump should remain on the ballot, calling it a “ridiculous assertion.” 

More details: McEnany tested negative yesterday and today, Fox News host Harris Faulkner said, which McEnany confirmed.

She said she didn’t know when the President was made aware of Hope Hicks’ diagnosis but Trump learned of his diagnosis last night and the tweet was put out “within an hour. 

She said she was “unaware” of Hicks’ diagnosis but “immediately” when she got a positive result, contact tracing was put into place.

“Rest assured, we will always do what is in the best interest of the American people and those around, and I have confidence in the White House medical unit to make the right decisions as they did with Hope and with others,” she said.

McEnany couldn’t say that any protocols are changing at the White House in light of the news.

“We put in place safety procedures, the White Hose Correspondents’ Association has spaces between the chairs, we wear masks in the White House when we can't socially distance. The president, we make sure we're always six feet away and we stay away from each other. So we'll go forward with those same procedures, and we believe that we will protect those here in the White House as we come to work, as we’re essential workers,” she said.

White House staffers, of course, have been observed largely eschewing masks and social distancing during public events.

2:10 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Trump's New Jersey fundraiser took place both indoors and outdoors yesterday

From CNN's From Nikki Carvajal

President Trump’s trip to New Jersey for a fundraiser on Thursday was deemed safe by White House operations, the White House said Friday. However, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany falsely claimed it was an outdoor event.

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins reports the event took place both outside and indoors.  

 “It was deemed safe for the President to go. He socially distanced, it was an outdoor event and it was deemed safe,” McEnany told reporters during a very brief Q&A at the White House.  

Asked who made the call, she responded that “White House operations made the assessment that it was safe for the President in consultation with others.”

The press secretary refused to get into specifics about what kind of test Trump took for his diagnosis, but said that “within an hour we put out that information to the American people.” Likewise, she wouldn’t detail the President’s exact symptoms.

Confirming CNN’s previous reporting, McEnany claimed she did not know about Hope Hicks’ positive Covid-19 diagnosis before yesterday’s press briefing.

McEnany also said Trump has spoken with Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sen. Lindsay Graham Friday about stimulus negotiations.

2:07 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

Additional journalist tests positive for Covid-19, according to new WHCA memo

From CNN’s Brian Stelter

On Friday afternoon, shortly after the White House press corps were notified that one journalist and one White House staffer who works with the media had tested positive for Covid-19, a follow-up memo carried word of another case of a sick journalist. 

This means that two White House reporters have tested positive for Covid-19 in recent days. 

The new memo, from the White House Correspondents Association board, at 1:33 p.m. ET, said:

“We are writing to let you know that another member of our press corps tested positive today for COVID-19. This individual was last at the White House on Saturday and subsequently traveled on Air Force One to Pennsylvania. The individual began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms yesterday.”

Saturday was the day of the Supreme Court announcement at the White House and Trump’s rally in Pennsylvania

2:03 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

White House official says not to read too much into Trump missing scheduled call

From CNN's Betsy Klein

A White House official downplayed the President missing a 12:15 p.m. call on his public schedule, calling it a “slight” change. 

“You shouldn’t read too much into a slight schedule change. As Kayleigh noted, the President is hard at work and has been working the phones all day from the residence talking to the Chief of Staff, Leader McConnell, Senator Graham, and others,” the official told CNN.

But all events were removed from Trump’s public schedule, with the exception of that call, in updated daily guidance that was released following his diagnosis at 1:11 am.

Instead, Vice President Mike Pence led the call on protecting America’s seniors. Pence did not provide an explanation for Trump’s absence on the call beyond the initial diagnosis, but said Trump was “well.”

1:58 p.m. ET, October 2, 2020

All planned Trump events are being postponed or going virtual, campaign says

From CNN’s Betsy Klein

The Trump campaign says all the President's planned events are being postponed or going virtual.

Here's what Bill Stepien, Trump 2020 campaign manager, wrote in a statement:

“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. In addition, previously announced events involving members of the First Family are also being temporarily postponed. All other campaign events will be considered on a case-by-case basis and we will make any relevant announcements in the days ahead. Vice President Mike Pence, who has tested negative for Covid-19, plans on resuming his scheduled campaign events. Any further information about the President will come from the White House.”