Trump campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway test positive for coronavirus

On Friday night, two more people disclosed that they have tested positive for the coronavirus. Trump campaign manager, Bill Stepien, and former adviser Kellyanne Conway are the latest people in President Trump’s world added to a list of those being diagnosed with the virus.

President Trump’s diagnosis and his admittance to Walter Reed Medical Center Friday evening put the country on edge, as well as moving his re-election campaign into unknown territory. The good news is that overnight, the White House physician gave more details of the president’s treatment at Walter Reed.

The president’s physician said in a memo that Trump received a dose of an experimental antibody combination by Regeneron that is in clinical trials. Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley said Trump “remains fatigued but in good spirits” and that a team of experts was evaluating both the president and first lady in regard to next steps.

Late Friday, Conley issued an update that said Trump is “doing very well” and is “not requiring any supplemental oxygen,” But he said that, “in consultation with specialists we have elected to initiate Remdesivir therapy,” an antiviral medication.

“He has completed his first dose and is resting comfortably,” the doctor wrote.

It’s good news that the president isn’t in need of additional oxygen. Dr. Conley also reported that First Lady Melania is doing well. She is experiencing a “mild cough and headache.” The rest of the First Family has tested negative for the virus.

Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien will quarantine at home until he recovers. He is reported to be suffering with mild flu-like symptoms. Deputy Campaign Manager Justin Clark will run the campaign’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia but Stepien will maintain control of the campaign, working remotely from home. Earlier Friday, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel disclosed that she tested positive for the coronavirus so that is two key figures in Trump’s re-election bid that are quarantined at home. From a political point of view, the timing of all of this is precarious for the campaign. We are truly in new territory here, with just 30 days until the election.

Kellyanne Conway tweeted out her diagnosis Friday night.

Kellyanne no longer works in the White House but she did attend the event last weekend when President Trump formally announced the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Two others at that ceremony have tested positive, Senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis. Unrelated to the White House event, another senator announced his positive diagnosis Saturday morning. Senator Ron Johnson was tested after learning he had been exposed to someone who tested positive and he, too, received a positive diagnosis from his test Friday.

The campaign is making adjustments and we can expect Vice-President Pence to act as Trump’s chief surrogate on the campaign trail, such as it is this cycle.

Trump’s diagnosis has thrust his management of the coronavirus to the forefront of the campaign, which he has strenuously tried to avoid. And it has rippled through his political operation: Earlier Friday, Stepien sent a memo to staff saying that anyone “who has had exposure to someone testing positive should immediately begin self-quarantine.”

“While we do not believe anyone without symptoms needs to self-quarantine at this time, it is on all of us to continue to exercise the smart judgment and practices the campaign has long encouraged,” he added, including mask-wearing and handwashing.

Stepien on Saturday is slated to hold separate conference calls with campaign staff and grass-roots leaders. Pence is expected to participate in one of the calls.

President Trump is signaling an upbeat and hopeful attitude. Since announcing his diagnosis, and that of the First Lady, he has only tweeted twice as I write this Saturday morning. The first tweet was a video he made at the White House just before he boarded Marine One to go to Walter Reed.

Then he posted a short tweet later Friday night.

All we can do at this point is to follow updates on the president’s treatment and wish him a speedy recovery. He’s a fighter. Let’s hope he and Melania get this behind them soon.

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