/Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien becomes latest GOP official to test positive for COVID-19

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien becomes latest GOP official to test positive for COVID-19

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.

More:President Trump hospitalized at Walter Reed after testing positive for COVID-19

More:Former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway tests positive for COVID-19

It was not immediately clear how the campaigns would handle the scheduled debates this month. 

Campaign manager Bill Stepien stands alongside US President Donald Trump as he speaks with reporters aboard Air Force One as he flies from Manchester, New Hampshire to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, August 28, 2020, following a campaign rally. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

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.    

President Donald Trump walks to speak to members of the press on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Trump is traveling to North Carolina and Florida. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)