U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (R) and his wife Karen Pence join Trump administration officials on stage after President Donald Trump delivered his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination on the South Lawn of the White House August 27, 2020 in Washington, DC.
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Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence have tested negative for the coronavirus, Pence’s spokesman said Friday, hours after President Donald Trump announced he and the first lady tested positive.
“Vice President Pence remains in good health and wishes the Trumps well in their recovery,” Devin O’Malley, the vice president’s press secretary, said in a tweet. “As has been routine for months, Vice President Pence is tested for COVID-19 every day.”
The vice president is first in line to the presidency, followed by the speaker of the House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, and Senate president pro tempore, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
Trump’s diagnosis a month before the Nov. 3 election has massive implications for the immediate future of the campaign, government and the economy.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is fourth in the line of succession, said Friday he tested negative. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who is fifth in line, also tested negative, according to a tweet from his spokeswoman.
The president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband Jared Kushner also tested negative, a spokeswoman said.
Pence is scheduled to participate in Wednesday’s vice presidential debate with Sen. Kamala Harris, Democrat Joe Biden’s running mate. Trump and Biden appeared on stage together, at a distance, on Tuesday night for their first presidential debate.
Trump, in a tweet sent after midnight, announced he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the virus and that they would begin a “quarantine and recovery process immediately.”
Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said in a memo shared by White House officials that “The President and First Lady are both well at this time.”
“Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruptions while recovering,” Conley said.
On Thursday evening, media outlets reported that Hope Hicks, one of Trump’s top aides, had tested positive. Hicks had tested positive Thursday morning, after she began showing symptoms Wednesday evening, NBC News reported. She had reportedly quarantined on Air Force One late Wednesday as the president flew back to Washington from a campaign event in Minnesota.
Trump himself confirmed Hicks’ diagnosis in an interview Thursday night with Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
“She is a hard worker, a lot of masks, she wears masks a lot. She tested positive. I just went out with the test, we will see,” Trump said. “We spend a lot of time, the first lady just went and got a test also. Whether we quarantine, whether we have, we don’t know.”
Trump is the most powerful figure to come down with Covid-19. Previously, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had tested positive for coronavirus and survived, as did Britain’s Prince Charles.
Trump’s handling of the pandemic has been under fire throughout the crisis. More than 7.27 million Covid-19 cases, and at least 207,816 deaths, have been reported in the U.S. — more than any other nation, according to Johns Hopkins University.