A little more than a month before the U.S. presidential election, Donald Trump announced early Friday via Twitter that he and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus and have begun quarantining themselves.
In response, Vice President Mike Pence tweeted: "Karen and I send our love and prayers to our dear friends President @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS Melania Trump. We join millions across America praying for their full and swift recovery. God bless you President Trump & our wonderful First Lady Melania."
Pence spokesman Devin O'Malley tweeted a short while later that Pence and his wife tested negative early Friday and that the vice president "remains in good health."
As has been routine for months, Vice President Pence is tested for COVID-19 every day. This morning, Vice President Pence and the Second Lady tested negative for COVID-19. Vice President Pence remains in good health and wishes the Trumps well in their recovery.
— Devin O’Malley (@VPPressSec) October 2, 2020
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, who debated Trump in person late Tuesday in the Midwestern U.S. city of Cleveland, said a test Friday morning indicated he is negative. He extended well wishes to Trump and his wife via Twitter.
"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," Biden wrote.
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.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 2, 2020
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, "We are praying for the president and first lady that they'll have a speedy recovery." Pompeo also said he and his wife, Susan, tested negative after being examined on an airplane 20 minutes before landing in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and their wives "send their thoughts and prayers to the President and First Lady for a swift recovery."
"Secretary Esper and Chairman Milley last met with the president on Sunday at the White House Gold Star Families event. In preparation for and as part of his international travel, Secretary Esper tested negative for COVID on Monday and Wednesday of this week," said Hoffman in a statement, adding that Milley was tested early Friday and was negative.
The Pentagon spokesman also added, "The U.S. military stands ready to defend our country and interests. There's no change to the readiness or capability of our armed forces. Our national command and control structure is in no way affected by this announcement."
On Capitol Hill, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell tweeted he was pleased to hear "the White House physician's report that @POTUS and @FLOTUS are feeling well." Later Friday, McConnell tweeted that he had spoken to Trump about Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett and that the president was "in good spirits."
Just finished a great phone call with @POTUS. He’s in good spirits and we talked business — especially how impressed Senators are with the qualifications of Judge Barrett. Full steam ahead with the fair, thorough, timely process that the nominee, the Court, & the country deserve.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) October 2, 2020
The Senate's top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, issued a statement joining "the nation in praying for the First Family's health and safety."
Schumer said the White House should "conduct a contact tracing regime that follows CDC guidelines, as well as thorough testing and isolation for those who were exposed to infection risk." He called for greater transparency from the White House and urged Americans to take the proper precautions.
"When you ignore the science, you don't wear a mask, and you don't follow social distancing guidelines, it puts you and everyone around you at risk. Following science is a must," said the Senate minority leader.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told MSNBC that she was tested early Friday out of an "abundance of caution." On President Trump's diagnosis, she said, "I'm glad that he will have the best possible care and we want to make sure in our legislation that everyone in the country has that."
American civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, among Trump's fiercest critics, also offered words of comfort to Trump and the first lady.
"We sincerely pray the President & the First Lady do not have the worst of this disease," Jackson tweeted. "We must all pray for the full recovery of the President & his wife. For whatever religious or political persuasion, you may be, we must all pray as millions of people are affected by this disease."
Fox News journalist Chris Wallace, who moderated Tuesday's debate between Biden and Trump, told Fox & Friends Friday he will get tested for the coronavirus, although he and Trump remained at least 10 feet away.
Wallace also said that all debate participants and organizers except Trump, Biden and himself were told after they were tested at Cleveland Clinic to wear masks. Wallace said the first family elected not to wear masks.
Nearly 7.3 million people in the U.S. have been infected with COVID-19, which has claimed at least 208,000 lives — the most reported by any country, according to Johns Hopkins University.
U.S. markets opened lower Friday on the news of Trump's contraction of COVID-19. The S&P 500 Index was 0.6% lower in early trading, amid signs of a rise in negative investor sentiment. Energy indexes were pulled sharply lower by a more than 3% drop in oil prices.
Some market analysts, including Bronson Meadows Capital Management President Oliver Pursche, said Trump's illness could hurt his presidential campaign and lead to increased volatility at a time when investors are already nervous after the chaotic debate and heightened concerns over an uncertain transfer of power after the November 3 election.
"It's one more insecurity heading into a tight, contentious election," Pursche said.