By Arul Louis
New York– Although stricken by Covid-19, US President Donald Trump was showing only mild symptoms and was back on the job on Friday morning, his Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said.
“The American people can rest assured that we have a President that is not only on the job, will remain on the job and I’m optimistic that he’ll have a very quick and speedy recovery,” Meadows told reporters.
“I got the five or six things that he had tasked me to do like I do every single morning. He is certainly wanting to make sure we stay engaged,” he said.
The only noticeable difference was that Trump was silent on Twitter after his tweet around 1 a.m. announcing that he had tested positive for Covid-19.
However, the campaign with the election 32 days away on November 3 is at a standstill.
The campaign events for Friday and the next few days have been cancelled, Trump Campaign Senior Adviser Corey Lewandowski told CBS News.
Trump has a debate with his Democratic Party challenger Joe Biden scheduled for October 15.
Vice President Mike Pence may have to pick up some campaign assignments but questions arise if the format of the campaign will change from what Trump has been following because the Covid-19 pandemic struck close to home. He held tightly-packed rallies with some supporters like him not wearing masks.
Pence, who is next in line to take over from Trump if the need arises, has tested negative, his spokesperson Devin O’Malley tweeted.
Biden, who was in a socially distanced debate on Tuesday with Trump, tested negative for the coronavirus, his personal doctor said.
Trump joined the 7.3 million people in America who have been infected with the virus that originated in China.
Trump is 74 and overweight, two conditions that put him at greater risk for the ravages of the disease.
The Covid-19 infection is a personal and political blow to Trump who had shown disdain for many of the precautions prescribed by health authorities to fight the pandemic. It could shake the confidence of his hardcore supporters who had followed his example in not wearing masks and questioning the health codes.
Meadows said that Trump’s first question to him Friday morning was “how is the economy doing how are the stimulus talks” with Congress.
Trump and his wife Melania “remain in good spirits” and “the President does have mild symptoms and as we look to try to make sure that no only his health and safety and welfare is good, we continue to look at that for all of the American people,” Meadows said.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, who is legally next in the line of succession after Pence, told CNN that she underwent a Covid-19 test but was awaiting results.
She criticised Trump’s attitude to preventive measures, saying on MSNBC: “This is tragic, it’s very sad, but it’s also something that, again, going into crowds unmasked and all the rest, was sort of a brazen initiation for something like this to happen.”
Several members of Trump’s cabinet, aides close to him and other officials have reported coming up negative in Covid-19 tests.
National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told reporters he did not think that Trump’s illness will affect the economy.
Stock market reactions have been subdued. After a 350-point plunge, the Dow Jones index settled in a downward one per cent range, which is not too unusual given the market’s volatility.
The main outstanding government business for Trump is getting a relief package to help the country tide over the pandemic.
Funding the economic recovery and allocating relief money for individuals, states and cities, and businesses hangs in the balance while the Democrats and the Republicans bicker.
The House of Representatives, controlled by the Democrats, passed a $2.2 trillion Covid-19 relief package on Thursday, which has been opposed by the Republicans and is unlikely to pass the Senate.
But Trump has generally kept away from the negotiations with the Democrats leaving it to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The other priority for Trump is getting his nominee to the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, confirmed by the Senate, where the conservative judge is opposed by the Democrats. (IANS)