WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, has tested positive for COVID-19, the latest case of the virus to emerge within the president’s inner circle and another setback for the GOP with only weeks to go before the election.
Stepien learned of the test results Friday, according to a Republican source with knowledge of the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Stepien, a former White House official who took over the top campaign slot in July, will quarantine.
The news came on the same day that Trump himself announced he had tested positive and was moved to Walter Reed Medical Center outside of Washington, D.C., a revelation with the potential to upend the president’s messaging on the virus. Another senior White House official, Hope Hicks, also tested positive earlier in the week.
Stepien, 42, led a call with reporters just days earlier about the presidential debates, noting that the Trump campaign was not in favor of changing the rules after the first debate on Tuesday in Cleveland drew criticism for spiraling out of control. The campaign was pushing that position before the news of the president’s positive rest result.
It was not immediately clear how the campaigns would handle the scheduled debates this month.
The news of Stepien’s results came on the same day that officials confirmed Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel had tested positive, leaving several key leaders in the GOP campaign effort laid up weeks before the election.