National News

President Plans to Debate Biden Oct. 15 as Campaign Pledges ‘Full-Speed’ Push

President Donald Trump takes off his face mask at the White House in Washington Oct. 5, 2020. He was hospitalized Oct. 2 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., after testing positive for the coronavirus disease. (Photo: CNS/Erin Scott, Reuters)

WINDSOR TERRACE — President Donald Trump posted on social media that he plans to debate Democrat opponent Joe Biden on Oct. 15. Also, his campaign pledges to maintain “full speed until the president returns to the campaign trail.”

The assertions about Trump’s re-election battle came as the president returned to the White House Monday, Oct. 5, after a weekend in the hospital for COVID-19 medical treatments.

The next day, however, Trump went on social media to assure he’d be back soon.

“I am looking forward to the debate on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 15 in Miami,” he posted on Instagram. “It will be great!”

Comments from Trump’s doctor and campaign officials described a “wait-and-see” posture regarding how and when he might return to in-person events. The president and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the virus on Oct. 1.

On Tuesday, Oct. 6, Trump’s physician, Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley said the president “had a restful first night at home, and today he reports no symptoms.”

“Overall he continues to do extremely well,” Conley added. “I will provide updates as we know more.”

A day earlier Conley said the president “may not entirely be out of the woods yet.” 

Trump made a video from the White House shortly after his return that appeared on social media outlets. He said he felt better than he had in 20 years.

“One thing is for certain,” he told his audience on Twitter and Facebook, “don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it.

“We’re going back to work. We’re going to be out front. And I know there’s a risk; there’s a danger. But that’s OK. And now I’m better, and maybe I’m immune. I don’t know. But don’t let it dominate your lives.”

Meanwhile, members of the president’s inner circle were testing positive for the coronavirus, including press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. CNN reported 13 staffers, advisers, and associates tested positive. Among them were Hope Hicks, an aide to the president; Kellyanne Conway, former counselor to the president; Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee; and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

About an hour before Trump departed Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told CBS News, “it’s the president’s intention to debate” Biden in the second campaign face-off of the 2020 election.

Also, Hogan Gidley, campaign spokesman, told Fox News, “doctors will dictate a lot of the president’s movements going forward.”

Conley, on Oct. 5 said members of the president’s medical team agreed that his “clinical status” cleared the way for his return to the White House. There, he added, the president would be  “surrounded by world-class medical care,” according to The Associated Press.

The Navy doctor added in a CBS News report that the president would be monitored to determine when he is no longer infectious.

“Routinely, we talk about a 10-day window, you know CDC guidelines, but we’re checking him more routinely than just waiting 10 days,” Conley said. “There’s a possibility it’s earlier than that. There’s a chance that it’s a little bit later, but we will know as soon as possible. And then, we will look at him clinically, how are feeling, how are you doing?”

The campaign, meanwhile, pledged to press the re-election fight.

According to a Monday press release, the campaign launched Operation MAGA “to energize and mobilize the MAGA universe to maintain full speed until the president returns to the campaign trail.”

The information explained that Operation MAGA “is a full marshaling of top-level surrogates, campaign coalitions, and Trump supporters to rally behind the president.”

This effort kicked off Oct. 5 with a “virtual” event of live-stream speeches from Donald Trump Jr. and others.

On Oct. 2, Campaign Manager Bill Stepien announced all previously scheduled campaign events involving the president were “being moved to virtual events or are being temporarily postponed.” 

There was no specific mention of rallies. But Stepien said, “All other campaign events will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and we will make any relevant announcements in the days ahead.”

Stepien was among people close to Trump who tested positive for the virus.

On Sunday, Oct. 4, Jason Miller, another top campaign official, told CNN that any future rallies would take Trump supporters’ temperatures. The campaign would also distribute face masks and hand sanitizer. 

The Oct. 5 campaign press release also stated, “the campaign will pivot to in-person events following the vice-presidential debate on Oct. 7.”

Vice President Mike Pence, who has tested negative for the virus, left Washington as Trump returned to the White House. His destination was Salt Lake City, Utah, for the vice presidential debate with Biden’s VP candidate, Kamala Harris.

“Members of the first family will host live events in battleground states beginning after Wednesday as well,” the Oct. 5 press release stated. “The campaign will also deploy its coalitions, including Women for Trump, Black Voices for Trump, Latinos for Trump, and others, for events in key states.”

One thought on “President Plans to Debate Biden Oct. 15 as Campaign Pledges ‘Full-Speed’ Push

  1. Joe Biden should be in another location from Trump during the next debate. Trump is now contagious and would gladly spread his germs on his opponent.