Trump’s campaign seeks recovery with penny appearances, virtual events

President Trump’s re-election team is moving to get his campaign back on track, although his prognosis remains uncertain while he is being treated for coronavirus at a military hospital outside Washington.

Vice President Mike Pence will lead the effort, Jason Miller, a senior consultant for the campaign, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday. Mr. Pence is expected to stop the campaign this week in Arizona and Nevada. He is scheduled to discuss his Democratic challenger, Senator Kamala Harris, in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.

Mr. Miller described an effort in which Mr. Pence, Trump family members, and more than 50 other surrogates and key supporters would begin to “fan out across the country” in a modified campaign he described as Operation MAGA.

“He will have a very full and aggressive schedule, as well as the first family, Don, Eric, Ivanka,” Miller said. “We are in a campaign, we have a month to go,” he said.

Miller declined to say whether Trump family members would be quarantined for 14 days, which is guidance provided by the White House Coronavirus Task Force for someone who has close contact with a carrier of the disease.

Trump supporters gathered outside the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where the president is being treated for the coronavirus on Sunday.


alex edelman / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

Trump’s family accompanied him to the first presidential debate in Cleveland last Tuesday. Mr. Pence last saw Mr. Trump before the president left for the debate. Mr. Pence and his wife, second Mrs. Karen Pence, tested negative again on Covid-19 on Sunday, according to an administration official. The vice president has remained in his residence since Friday for copious caution in limiting contact with those potentially exposed people, an official said.

Mr. Miller said the campaign events would initially be virtual. “We will have a big virtual event or some kind of our first virtual rally,” he said. “So as soon as we’re able to get back out there in person, we’ll do it.”

The campaign would continue but with “an abundance of caution,” said Steve Cortes, Trump’s senior campaign advisor, in an appearance on Fox News. “It was already in place but it is even more so now.”

Trump’s positive test for the virus last week and his subsequent hospitalization on Friday forced Biden and Trump’s campaigns to adjust to the election less than 30 days away. Joe Biden is leading Mr. Trump in the most recent Wall Street Journal / NBC poll, which showed the former vice president with 53% support compared to the president’s 39%.

Preparations at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, where Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic candidate Kamala Harris will discuss Wednesday.


Julio Cortez / Associated Press

Mr. Miller dismissed the national poll, saying the race could go down in the upper Midwest and that the campaign is confident in Arizona, Nevada and Florida. “Trump’s campaign numbers are growing” in North Carolina and Georgia, he said. “Pennsylvania will be tight, Michigan will be tight, the whole upper Midwest is what this thing could come up with,” he said.

Doctors said Sunday that the president could leave Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Until Monday.

Biden’s campaign, which had paused negative publicity because it hoped for a speedy recovery from Trump, would take into account the tone and tenor of his approach in the future, said Kate Bedingfield, Biden’s deputy campaign manager.

“We will make this adjustment as we go,” he said.

Ms Bedingfield said the upcoming presidential debates should proceed on schedule. “Joe Biden is looking forward to the opportunity to discuss Donald Trump, and we hope he is well and able to do so,” he said.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden seen in Wilmington, Del., Saturday


Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Mr Miller of Trump’s campaign dismissed questions about whether Mr Pence, the second in line to take over the government should Mr Trump become incapable, should isolate or consider a virtual debate instead of a live one. planned with Mrs. Harris.

“We see Joe Biden and Kamala Harris out there campaigning. Of course, they are not asking for a long-distance debate, “he said.

Dr Tom Inglseby, director of the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University, said on Sunday that Mr. Pence should be quarantined because he was with the president last week. This is “a period of time in which [Mr. Trump] it is presumed to be contagious, “Dr. Inglseby said in an interview with Fox News.

“In my mind it seems like the vice president should be in quarantine, even if he is being tested on a daily basis,” as it can take some time for an infected person to test positive and advise against in-person demonstrations.

“Big rallies like demonstrations shouldn’t happen at this point, for any purpose, during a pandemic that has been getting worse in recent weeks,” said Dr. Inglesby.

Write to Gordon Lubold to [email protected] and Ryan Tracy to [email protected]

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