The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump to leave Walter Reed l Post-debate polls show Biden building big lead l Coronavirus concerns ahead of VP debate

The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump to leave Walter Reed l Post-debate polls show Biden building big lead l Coronavirus concerns ahead of VP debate
© ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images

Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail:



President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE will check out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday evening after three days of treatment for the coronavirus.

The president downplayed the virus on Monday afternoon from the hospital.

“Don’t be afraid of Covid,” Trump tweeted. “Don’t let it dominate your life.”

Trump’s doctor at Walter Reed, Sean Conley, said Trump is “not out of the woods yet” but that the medical team signed off on him leaving. Trump will continue to receive treatment as he works from the White House, where several others have also tested positive for the coronavirus.

It’s unclear when the president will be able to return to the campaign trail or if he’ll participate in virtual campaign events.

The post-debate polls are rolling in and the data looks bleak for Trump with less than a month to go before the election.

Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump Cruz urges Supreme Court to take up Pennsylvania election challenge MORE is leading by landslide margins in some national polls, while building a healthy lead in some of the swing states that will determine the outcome on Nov. 3.


Republicans interviewed by The Hill are starting to sound panicked over the prospect the GOP could suffer heavy losses on Election Day if there is not a swift reversal in Trump’s favor.

The GOP’s Senate majority is very much in peril.

A sampling of the alarming data rolling in for Republicans:

There is not enough data to know how the public feels about the president’s hospitalization with the coronavirus.

Other world leaders have gotten a bump in the polls from a sympathetic public.

But an ABC News-Ipsos poll found that 72 percent of respondents said the president did not take “the appropriate precautions when it came to his personal health.” The same percentage said Trump did not take the “risk of contracting the virus seriously enough.”

Republicans doubt the president will receive a bump, given those numbers.

One dynamic to watch for in the coming days — with Trump’s numbers collapsing: Will vulnerable GOP senators seek distance from him?

We may have seen the first sign of that on Monday when Sen. John CornynJohn CornynMcCaskill: 'Hypocrisy' for GOP to target Biden nominee's tweets after Trump Former Senate hopeful auctioning off Harley-Davidson featured prominently in her campaign ads The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms MORE (R), running for reelection in ruby-red Texas, criticized the president for not taking the coronavirus seriously enough.

“I think he let his guard down, and I think in his desire to try to demonstrate that we are somehow coming out of this and that the danger is not still with us — I think he got out over his skis and frankly, I think it’s a lesson to all of us that we need to exercise self-discipline,” Cornyn told The Houston Chronicle.


Trump campaign scrambled by president’s hospitalization, by Jonathan Easley and Brett Samuels.

GOP anxiety grows over Trump roller coaster, by Alexander Bolton


Concerns are growing over the safety of the upcoming vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City on Wednesday as more people in Trump’s orbit tested positive for the coronavirus.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced Monday she had tested positive, and it was later reported that two assistant press secretaries had tested positive for the virus as well.

While Pence has tested negative for the virus, McEnany’s positive diagnosis has renewed concerns, given that symptoms may not start to show until days after someone is infected.

The developments have raised concerns about the safety of the vice presidential debate, especially after Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpCapitol physician advises lawmakers against attending dinners, receptions during COVID-19 spike White House moves forward with holiday parties during pandemic The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Capital One - Biden unveils batch of his White House team MORE tested positive two days after attending the first presidential debate last week.

Pence and Harris are slated to be distanced 12 feet away from each other on the debate stage.


The weekend in North Carolina saw two bombshell revelations that threaten to upend the state’s already hotly contested Senate race. On Friday, Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisRep. Mark Walker announces Senate bid in North Carolina Grassley returns to Capitol after having coronavirus McConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge MORE (R-N.C.) tested positive for COVID-19 and hours later, his Democratic opponent Cal Cunningham admitted to exchanging romantic text messages with a woman who’s not his wife. But we’re not seeing any big changes in the state of that race just yet.


A survey from the Democrat-leaning firm Public Policy Polling conducted Sunday and Monday showed Cunningham leading Tillis 48-42 percent. For some context, a similar Public Policy Polling survey released in July found Cunningham ahead 48-44 percent. Political operatives in the state cautioned that it was still early and that the recent developments in the race haven’t fully set in yet. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians have already submitted absentee ballots, and early in-person voting is slated to begin next week.

More on the latest developments in the North Carolina Senate race here.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District, Democrat Amy Kennedy is leading Democratic-turned-Republican Rep. Jefferson Van Drew (R) by 5 points, according to a new Monmouth University poll. All told, Kennedy draws the support of 49 percent of polled registered voters in the district compared with 44 percent for Van Drew, whose party switch late last year infuriated Democrats and set off a scramble to oust him.

Julia has more on the Monmouth poll here.