Roughly 12 hours after President Donald Trump disclosed via Twitter that he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus and had begun the quarantine process, Joe Biden, his rival for the presidency, announced that he and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, had tested negative.
“I’m happy to report that Jill and I have tested negative for COVID,” the former vice president wrote on Twitter. “Thank you to everyone for your messages of concern. I hope this serves as a reminder: wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands.”
Trump and Biden shared a university auditorium stage on Tuesday night, during the first presidential debate, and Trump announced two days later the results of his positive test, hours after a Bloomberg reporter broke the news that Hope Hicks, one of the president’s closest aides, had become infected with the virus. Late Friday afternoon,Trump entered Walter Reed Hospital, which the White House described as simply a cautionary move. The president is expected to stay at the hospital for several days.
According to published reports, Biden did not learn directly of Trump’s positive test results from the White House. Instead, he, like the rest of the country, found out when the president tweeted about it shortly after midnight. On Friday morning, the NBC correspondent Mike Memoli reported that there was “a lot of anger from the Biden camp” over the events of the past few days, particularly the behavior of the Trump family at Tuesday’s debate.
The first lady and the rest of the president’s adult children entered the hall at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University all wearing masks, as required by the debate organizers. But the minute they took their seats, they took their masks off, and then they waved away a debate commission staffer who brought them new masks to put back on. Dr. Jill Biden kept her mask on throughout the entire debate.
Interviewed on MSNBC, Memoli said that the family’s behavior incensed the Biden staffers because their campaign had been careful the entire election season to follow strict pandemic protocol and to follow local guidelines at each of their campaign events.
And, of course, Trump has repeatedly mocked Biden for his mask-wearing, most recently at Tuesday’s debate. “When needed, I wear masks [but] I don’t wear masks like him,” Trump told moderator Chris Wallace, gesturing toward the former vice president. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from them, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”