Iowa political leaders send well-wishes to President Trump after positive COVID-19 test, urge mask wearing and social distancing

Three days after the presidential debate, President Trump announced via Twitter that he and the First Lady tested positive for COVID-19. No one is certain how this will affect the upcoming election, but many elected officials of differing parties wish the president a quick recovery.

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U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks at the Values Voter Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019 in Washington, D.C. The appearance at the Summit comes as evangelical leaders this week criticized Trump’s decision to stand down U.S. forces in northern Syria.

Lauren White, Politics Reporter


President Trump announced early Friday morning that he and the First Lady have tested positive for COVID-19, hours after Vice President Mike Pence made a campaign stop in Des Moines.

Iowa leaders say they are wishing the president a quick recovery and hope people continue to wear masks and abide by social-distancing guidelines. 

Iowa Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, said he does not know how Trump’s positive test results will affect the election, but said the president should be treated with respect during this time. 

A president, regardless of political party, with a severe medical situation calls for humanity. I think it also calls for unity. I do not wish COVID-19 on anyone, this is a very serious situation that we all need to band together to fight it,” Kaufmann said. 

Pence tested negative for COVID-19 Friday morning, but on Thursday he attended an event in Iowa hosted by The Family Leader, a Christian conservative interest group based in Iowa, where White House staff members were present as well as audience members. 

The Director of Communication for The Family Leader Drew Zahn said that very few of his staff, and only those who had tested negative 24 hours prior, were allowed to come into close contact with Pence. 

“As for the larger crowd, we made efforts to observe all required safety measures, including taking temperatures at the door and not permitting entrance to anyone with a fever, providing masks for all attendees, communicating the Des Moines requirement for mask wearing within the facility, and distancing attendee tables and abiding by the capacity limit established by the Iowa Events Center,” Zahn said. 

Pence was also isolated by a buffer zone from the audience as a whole, as dictated by the U.S. Secret Service, so Zahn had no concern that the White House staff  or his staff would be in jeopardy. 

Hope Hicks, a White House advisor, first tested positive on Oct. 1, just days after traveling with the president to and from the presidential debate on Sept. 29 and then to a rally Sept. 30. When her positive test results were released on Thursday, Trump and the First Lady were quarantined, Trump said in a tweet

Trump has often downplayed the severity of the virus, and less than a month ago, he said that the coronavirus affected “virtually no one.”

“It affects elderly people. Elderly people with heart problems and other problems. If they have other problems that’s what it really affects,” Trump, 74, said during a campaign rally in Ohio

As of Oct. 2, the U.S. has had a total of 207,025 deaths from COVID-19, and Iowa alone has had 1,311 deaths. 

Iowa Sen. Joe Bolkcom said he wishes Trump and the First Lady a speedy recovery, and said this is a reminder that the virus can affect anyone. 

“This should be a reminder to everyone that the virus does not care if you are powerful or an everyday person,” Bolkcom said. “Wearing a face mask, social distancing and washing your hands are still the only defenses against this deadly virus.

There are varying reactions to Trump’s announcement as some people like Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, said that he and his wife send their thoughts and prayers to Trump and the First Lady in a tweet, while others say that he should have taken the virus more seriously. 

“Maybe now that people will see the president of the United States, with all the protection that he has and the First Lady has, still having this exposure might be a learning experience, but more than learning it has to be something that is acted upon,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on MSNBC Friday morning

On Friday, Trump was taken to Walter Reed Medical Center after developing a low-grade, where he will remain for the next few days.

Trump tweeted a short video thanking people for their support and assuring people that he is in good health.

 

U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, released a statement Friday wishing Trump and the First Lady well and that the virus “knows no ethnic, gender, or geographic boundaries.”

“I hope this difficult news serves as a call to action for everyone to protect themselves and our communities against the spread of his virus. Be safe and wear a mask,” Finkenauer said in the statement.

Both candidates for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, Democrat Rita Hart and Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks, tweeted well-wishes to Trump and the First Lady on Friday.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds also tweeted her support.

 

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