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Trump has tested positive for COVID-19: Here's what that means for the presidency and the 2020 election

Posted at 8:00 PM, Oct 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-02 23:00:33-04

The CDC says anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 needs to quarantine for 14 days.

That puts the president in a tough spot with just 32 days until the election.

The Trump campaign, on Friday, postponed all of the president's upcoming events.

With Trump already showing symptoms like that fatigue, and falling into an "at-risk" category from an age and health standpoint, our 23ABC political contributors discuss what Trump's positive COVID-19 test results could mean for the remainder of the presidency and the presidential election.

“Just wear a mask. It’s that simple,” Joe Biden.

COVID-19 was one of the main discussions at the first presidential debate last Tuesday, and as we've seen Trump is not known to wear masks regularly, and has held rallies without mask mandates in place on top of that.

23ABC political contributor Dr. Ivy Cargile, a CSUB professor, says there’s been talk about postponing or canceling current Trump rallies after POTUS and FLOTUS announced their positive COVID-19 test results Thursday night,

But she adds the trends of Trump’s administration have shown that if Trump is up for it, they may eventually proceed with smaller campaign events.

When asked if Trump would have to quarantine for two weeks, then possibly be able to campaign in person, Cargile said, “That is what safety guidelines would call for, but let’s not forget that they haven’t necessarily followed the guidelines. I mean, just this morning his chief of staff, who has been in close contact with him, is giving a brief press conference about him without a mask!”

As far as those debates are concerned, Dr. Cargile predicts the vice presidential debate to proceed while the two other presidential debates on Oct. 15 and 22 are “hanging in the air.”

"Doctors are saying given his weight, and age, he is at-risk. Plus, COVID has been attacking men more severely than women. So, the fact that he is already showing mild symptoms has some people concerned," said Cargile.

23ABC political contributor, Allen Bolar doesn’t even see the vice presidential debate taking place.

“I feel like they’re going to want Pence to be ready at all times and potentially not have him exposed to anything,” said Bolar.

Ready for what you may ask? The potential of assuming presidential duties under the 25th Amendment.

Bolar did add that Trump should be able to perform his duties virtually. But if the virus progresses, it is the 25th Amendment that can render it possible for Trump and Congress to temporarily transfer duties of Vice President Mike Pence.

Dr. Cargile sees President Trump’s administration doing everything in their power to keep the power from transferring over, including Pence and Trump wearing masks around one another.

“The next person in line is Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and we all know how that relationship goes,” said Cargile.

Dr. Cargile adds that the polarization of Congress and the administration and the fact that we’re at the cusp of the current presidency would make it unlikely for a transfer of power happening.

The last time the 25th amendment was enacted, was when George H.W. Bush took over as acting president when former President Ronald Reagan was shot from an assassination attempt. Just a reminder: H.W. Bush did become the next POTUS, though Bolar says that it’s not likely that one caused the other.

When asked if this could pave the way for Pence to campaign successfully in the 2024 election Bolar says, “No matter what happens with this election is the frontrunner for 2024. Biden was the Vice President, and Vice President are generally frontrunners.”

This could change since they've moved him to Walter Reed hospital.

This morning presidential candidate Joe Biden also tweeted his COVID-19 test results, but they were negative.

He says in part, “Thank you to everyone for your messages of concern. I hope this serves as a reminder: wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands.”

Pelosi’s office also announced her negative results today.

23ABC will keep you updated on President Trump’s health.