President Donald Trump said Thursday he may hold campaign rallies this weekend in Florida and Pennsylvania, an announcement that comes a week after he tested positive for COVID-19 as part of a larger White House coronavirus outbreak.
Hours before he told Fox News his plans, White House physician Sean Conley cleared the president to resume public events, saying he had completed his therapy of COVID-19. Trump and the administration have repeatedly declined to say to when the president last received a negative test. That continued Thursday.
“There’s no reason to test all the time, but they found very little infection or virus, if any,” Trump told Fox. “I don’t know that they found any, I didn’t go into it greatly with the doctors.”
Meanwhile, the next presidential debate appears up-in-the-air after Trump said he wouldn’t participate because organizers changed the Miami event to a virtual platform over COVID-19 concerns. The Commission on Presidential Debates said it wouldn’t hold the debate Thursday with just Biden. Trump’s team now wants each of the remaining debates moved back a week, an idea the Biden campaign rejected.
☕ The latest:
- 25th Amendment: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Jamie Raskin will speak Friday on a bill establishing a commission required under the 25th Amendment , which lays out presidential succession. This comes after Pelosi has expressed concern about President Donald Trump’s mental state in recent days, including that steroids he’s taking to battle COVID-19 may be affecting his brain.
- Pence trip canceled: On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence canceled a planned appearance the next day in Indianapolis. His office did not explain why, but did say “nobody’s sick. There’s no positive tests.”
- Mitch McConnell: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he hasn’t been to the White House since August because of the executive office’s lax coronavirus precautions.
- Trump campaign: The Trump campaign is exploring the prospect of an event on Monday in Pittsburgh, an aide said. The aide did not elaborate, saying only it would be an “event” and not a “rally” for the COVID-stricken president.
📆 25 days until Election Day, six days until the second presidential debate, 103 days until Inauguration Day, 85 days left in 2020.
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President Donald Trump said Thursday he may hold rallies this weekend in Florida and Pennsylvania, hours after his physicians said he would be cleared to return to the campaign trail on Saturday.
“I think I’m going to try doing a rally on Saturday night, probably in Florida on Saturday,” the president told Fox News, breaking his answer at one point to clear his throat. “Pennsylvania the following night.”
White House physician Sean Conley said Thursday the president had completed his course of therapy for COVID-19 “as prescribed by his team of physicians” and cleared the president to return to public life on Saturday, 10 days since his diagnosis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines say patients are supposed to quarantine for at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms – in Trump’s case, last Thursday.
Earlier on Thursday Trump said he would bow out of the second presidential debate, scheduled for Oct. 15, after the Commission on Presidential Debates said they would hold a virtual debate out of coronavirus safety concerns.
– John Fritze and Courtney Subramanian
A team of militia operatives is charged with conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a plot in which they considered storming the state Capitol in a commando raid that would use Molotov cocktails to keep police cars at bay, according to newly unsealed court records.
Members of the group bought weapons, conducted surveillance, held training and planning meetings, but they were foiled in part because the FBI infiltrated the group with informants, according to a criminal complaint. Six were charged with federal kidnapping offenses and at least seven others face state charges.
The FBI became aware early in 2020, through social media, that a militia group was “discussing the violent overthrow of certain government and law enforcement components” and “agreed to take violent action,” according to a sworn affidavit.
– Paul Egan and Tresa Baldas (Detroit Free Press)
‘Deeply disturbing’:Feds charge 6 militia members in domestic terror plot to kidnap Whitmer
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday said he hasn’t visited the White House in two months because of what he saw as lax coronavirus practices.
“My impression was their approach to how to handle this (pandemic) was different from mine and what I insisted we do in the Senate, which was to wear a mask and practice social distancing,” McConnell said during an appearance in Northern Kentucky.
McConnell said he maintains regular phone contact with Trump and that the president “seems perfectly fine.”
But McConnell said he doesn’t have first-hand knowledge of the president’s health condition because he hasn’t visited the White House since Aug. 6. McConnell was not at the Sept. 26 event in the Rose Garden announcing Trump’s Supreme Court nominee – which may have become a “superspreader” event.
– Randy Tucker (Cincinnati Enquirer)
President Donald Trump said Thursday he would not take part in the next presidential debate Oct. 15 with former Vice President Joe Biden after it was moved to a virtual format because of COVID-19 safety concerns.
“I’m not going to waste my time doing a virtual debate,” he told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo, calling it a “joke” and an effort “to protect Biden.”
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Thursday morning the next debate would be remote to “protect the health and safety of all involved” after Trump’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis and the subsequent White House outbreak.
Co-chairman Frank Fahrenkopf said the commission would not host a debate with Biden alone if Trump doesn’t budge. He said the future of the debate rests with Trump: “The ball’s in his court.”
The Trump campaign later said they want to push the remaining two debates back one week each, an idea Biden’s team rejected.
– Nicholas Wu and Joey Garrison