DC Urges Rose Garden Attendees to Get Covid Test: Trump Update

Washington, DC, health authorities urged people who attended the Rose Garden ceremony announcing President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick to get tested for the coronavirus. The White House said the timing of Trump’s last negative test is regarded as private. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to unveil a new proposal implementing the 25th Amendment on presidential succession.

Trump returned to the Oval Office Wednesday for the first time since getting back to the White House Monday evening after his hospitalization at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He said on Thursday in his first live interview since returning home that his drugs have been dialed down, and that he’s taking a steroid that isn’t “heavy.”

Key Developments:

  • Trump Calls Case a ‘Blessing From God,’ Hails Antibody Treatment
  • One Week at the White House Was America’s Pandemic in Microcosm
  • Trump’s Covid Treatments and What the Options Are: QuickTake
  • Results of Covid-19 Tests for U.S. Politicians, Officials: List

Authorities Want Covid Tests for White House (3:28 p.m.)

Washington, DC, health authorities want people who worked in the White House during the past two weeks and attendees of a Sept. 26 Rose Garden ceremony unveiling Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court to get tested for the coronavirus.

Those individuals, along with people who “have had close contact with others who work in those spaces or attended those events,” should get a test for Covid-19, DC Health and nine other regional bodies, wrote in a letter to people who worked at the White House or went to the Rose Garden event.

White House Says Trump’s Last Negative Test Regarded Private (3:15 p.m.)

White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said Trump’s doctors want to keep the timing of his last negative coronavirus test “private.” Trump announced early on Oct. 2 that he’d tested positive for the virus.

“I can’t reveal that at this time. Doctors would like to keep it private,” Farah told reporters when asked when the president last tested negative. “My understanding is that it’s his private medical history.”

Farah also said that Trump earlier on Thursday wasn’t blaming anyone at a White House gathering for the families of fallen troops for giving him the coronavirus. “Based on contact tracing, the data we have, we don’t think it arose from that event.”

Pelosi Will Discuss 25th Amendment Plans (12:43pm)

Pelosi said at her weekly news briefing that “we’re going to be talking about the 25th Amendment” on Friday, which lays out succession if a president is incapacitated, and raised questions about Trump’s mental faculties.

The speaker said Trump “is, shall we say, in an altered state right now,” and “the disassociation from reality would be funny if it weren’t so deadly.”

Pelosi, discussing the prospects for stimulus talks, called Trump’s rapidly changing positions this week on whether to conduct talks with Democrats “strange.”

The White House continues to withhold information on Trump’s health, Pelosi said: “Mr. President, when was the last time you had a negative test before you tested positive? Why is the White House not telling the country that important fact about how this made a hot spot of the White House?”

Under the 25th Amendment, Vice President Mike Pence would take over if Trump were unable to keep going, with Pelosi next in line.

Trump Eyes Possible Infection at Fallen-Troops Event (12:11 p.m.)

Trump suggested he may have contracted the coronavirus at a White House gathering for the families of fallen troops held the day after a Sept. 26 Rose Garden event for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

The Barrett event has been identified by public health officials as the most likely source of the virus’s sweep through the White House. More than a dozen attendees have since tested positive for Covid-19, including former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, two Republican senators, and former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway.

But Trump said on Fox Business News on Thursday that he could have become infected during other recent interactions with the public, including the troop-family event.

“I can’t back up, Maria, and say ‘give me room, I want room, give me 12 feet,’” Trump told Fox correspondent Maria Bartiromo. “They come within an inch of my face sometimes. They want to hug me and kiss me and they do, and frankly, I’m not telling them to back up.”

Trump Says He’s on ‘Not Heavy’ Steroids (8:42 a.m.)

Trump said he’s pared back the drugs he was given to treat his Covid-19, and reiterated praise for a Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. antibody cocktail.

“I don’t think I’m contagious at all,” Trump said in a telephone interview Thursday on Fox Business Network. “I think I’m taking almost nothing,” he said, describing his condition as “perfect.” He added of his current treatments that, “They have a steroid, it’s not a heavy steroid.”

Trump also said he figured at some point he might catch the coronavirus, given the extent of his in-person interactions with people. He now aims to return to the campaign trail. “I think I’m better to a point where I’d love to do a rally tonight.”

Trump Rejects Doing Second Debate Remotely (8:03 a.m.)

Trump said it was “not acceptable” to do the second presidential debate with Biden remotely, and he won’t participate.

“I’m not going to do a virtual debate,” Trump said in a live interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business.

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement: “The safety of all involved can easily be achieved without canceling a chance for voters to see both candidates go head-to-head. We’ll pass on this sad excuse to bail out Joe Biden and do a rally instead.”

Next Week’s Presidential Debate Will Be Remote (7:27 a.m.)

The Oct. 15 presidential debate, scheduled to be the second of three, will be held remotely, according to the group overseeing its organization. Trump had said earlier this week he was healthy and looking forward to the debate with challenger Joe Biden.

“The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which the candidates would participate from separate remote locations,” the Commission on Presidential Debates said in a statement Thursday morning.

The vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris on Wednesday evening was held with tightened protocols to avert the spread of the coronavirus.

Trump Asked Doctors to Sign NDAs in 2019, NBC Says (6:23 a.m.)

The president required personnel at the Walter Reed military hospital to sign non-disclosure agreements before they could treat him last year, NBC reported, citing four unidentified people familiar with the matter.

At least two doctors declined to do so, and weren’t allowed to be involved in his treatment, two of the people said, according to NBC. The request was made during Trump’s surprise visit to the medical center in November 2019, NBC said.

Read more: Trump’s Weekend Hospital Visit Was Routine Exam, His Doctor Says

Walter Reed spokesperson Norris Agnew referred NBC News to the White House for comment. Trump returned to Walter Reed last Friday for treatment of his Covid-19.

— With assistance by Ros Krasny, Emma Kinery, Josh Wingrove, and Erik Wasson

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