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On Friday morning, cable news anchors took to their desks to discuss the wave of “unanswered questions” now hanging in the air after President Trump’s announcement that he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19.
Hours earlier, around 1 a.m. ET, the president tweeted the news, saying that he and the first lady will “begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately.” The tweet came hours after news broke that White House senior aide Hope Hicks had tested positive and had come down with the virus after traveling with the president several times this week.
All of the cable news channels had special coverage overnight to cover the news, disregarding their normal overnight programming.
At the 7 a.m. ET hour on CNN’s New Day, John Berman held a panel that included CNN anchors Dana Bash and Dr. Sanjay Gupta where they discussed the potential health issues facing Trump, given his age and pre-existing conditions, and stressed transparency about his status along the way, with Bash saying there is “not a lot of confidence that we will have factual answers” to all the “unanswered questions” being raised by Berman.
Berman mentioned the “immense” scope of the contract tracing that will commence and how it will involve anyone in Trump’s orbit in the last three to five days, which includes Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who socially distance faced-off against Trump during Tuesday’s first presidential debate, was due to be tested on Friday morning. Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen Pence tested negative on Friday morning.
CNN contributor and New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman called into CNN to discuss her overnight coverage, which includes reporting that Trump might address the nation to reassure the public on Friday and highlight that Bloomberg News broke the story about Hicks’ diagnosis, not the White House.
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, hosts Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, and Willie Geist discussed how Trump traveled to a New Jersey fundraiser on Thursday hours before testing positive and how staffers do not wear masks around the White House. Guest Rev. Al Sharpton said that Trump’s diagnosis should be interpreted as “why we need to deal with the impact [the coronavirus] has had on our country.”
White House reporter Jonathan Lemire, speaking to Brzezinski, also discussed how the White House was not the first to disclose Hicks’ diagnosis.
On Fox News’ Fox & Friends, hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade held a panel with the network’s weekend co-hosts where they discussed the “awful things being written on social media” about Trump’s diagnosis, such as tweets saying, “I told you so.”
Fox News anchor Pete Hegseth said, “Would you expect anything less at this point? The level of hatred that they have for this president has dehumanized him. Cue the wild conspiracy theories. Cue the vitriol and the hatred and the speculation.” He added that the best way forward for the president is to acknowledge he is going through what many others have gone through and to say, “I’m going to get back to work as soon as I have that negative test, which is hopefully very soon. In the meantime, I’m going to do the work that I can.”
The panel stressed that no one is immune to COVID-19 and that Trump’s diagnosis is “not proof of any political point.” With Biden set to be tested, Steve Doocy discussed with reporter Peter Doocy how the network had yet to hear an official response from the Biden campaign and questioned if the Democratic nominee was yet aware of the news.
Later in the morning, Biden tweeted, “Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery. We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family.”
Update: Joe and Jill Biden tested negative, with Biden revealing the news Friday afternoon.
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