Pence subbed in for Trump on call with governors after president’s positive test
Vice President Pence subbed in for President Trump on Friday on a conference call with governors about the coronavirus pandemic and protecting vulnerable populations after the president tested positive for COVID-19.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) confirmed that Trump was not on the call, which was listed on his public schedule. The president is experiencing mild symptoms of the virus, according to aides, but his absence from the call reflects the uncertainty over whether he will carry on working as normal.
“When the call started, the vice president did the call and said the president asked him to handle the call for him,” Cuomo told 1010 WINS radio. “So the president didn’t actually get on the briefing call, the vice president handled it.”
“I assume he’s resting up,” Cuomo said of Trump. “All New Yorkers wish the president well.”
Pence did not make further comment on Trump’s condition on the call, Cuomo said.
The White House alerted state leaders on Thursday that they would hold a call with Trump on Friday, according to a person familiar with the planning. But the notice went out before the president tested positive.
Trump revealed early Friday morning that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19, a virus that has killed more than 200,000 people in the U.S. this year and infected millions of people in the country.
The development came hours after it was reported that Hope Hicks, one of the president’s closest aides, had tested positive for the disease.
The White House physician said in a letter released by the press office that Trump and the first lady were “both well,” and that he expected the president to “continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering.”
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Trump was dealing with mild symptoms, but that he was “very energetic” and wanting to stay engaged in the day-to-day workflow. Trump’s absence from the governor’s call is sure to raise questions, however, about whether he will be able to carry out his usual duties without issue.
Trump was reportedly lethargic during a fundraiser in New Jersey on Thursday, which he attended even after the White House learned of Hicks’s positive test.
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