Trump says he’s ‘looking forward’ to second debate with Biden after Covid diagnosis

U.S. President Donald Trump participates in the first 2020 presidential campaign debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, held on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., September 29, 2020.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that he’s looking forward to next week’s debate with former Vice President Joe Biden as scheduled.

The president announced his plans participate in the second debate less than 24 hours after he was discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment of Covid-19.

“I am looking forward to the debate on the evening of Thursday, October 15th in Miami,” Trump wrote on his Twitter feed. “It will be great!”

Asked whether the Trump campaign will comply with testing requirements and any additional health measures in light of the president’s diagnosis, communications director Tim Murtaugh said: “The President intends to participate in person.”

The remarks came amid concerns that, despite his enthusiasm, the president could still pose a public health risk and infect others with the coronavirus. The Commission on Presidential Debates, the nonprofit group that sponsors the debates, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Trump is considered contagious 10 to 20 days from the onset of symptoms. For the president, that occurred on or about Oct. 1.

The president’s medical team is continuing to scrutinize his viral load for insight as to when he may no longer be infectious. The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Trump returned to the White House on Monday after a three-night stay at Walter Reed, where he was treated for the coronavirus with a cocktail of drugs including Gilead’s remdesivir, Regeneron’s antibody cocktail and the steroid dexamethasone.

The president has in recent days struck an upbeat and reassuring tone when discussing both his health and the severity of the global pandemic.

Hours before he was discharged from the hospital, Trump encouraged Americans not to be afraid of the deadly virus and said he felt “better than I did 20 years ago.”

But critics say that the president’s lighthearted comments may convince everyday Americans that the disease isn’t as bad as feared and result in widespread disregard for health-care guidelines.

The CDC and other public health officials continue to warn that the coronavirus is a significant risk to Americans. The virus has killed more than 200,000 in the U.S. 

Should the debate move forward as planned, both Trump and Biden will answer questions from voters in Miami. The political editor of C-SPAN is the moderator for the second debate. It will be in a town hall format.

A third presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker will moderate that debate.

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