How Could President Trump’s COVID Diagnosis Affect the Upcoming Election? Political Expert Weighs In

Tags: Currents Coronavirus, Crux, Donald Trump, Election, Elections 2020, St John's University, World News

By Emily Drooby

Friday marks the “October Surprise” that was a surprise to everyone, even President Donald Trump. He and the first Lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19, just 32 days away from the election.

Political expert Brian Browne from St. John’s University explains that this could be a big blow to President Trump’s campaign.

“An important part of the Trump brand is public rallies, outdoors, lots of people, and that has now been taken away so this really changes the dynamic,” he explained. “It changes how they’re going to message things.”

The week leading up to his diagnosis, the president was busy on the campaign trail. He has appearances in New Jersey, Minnesota and Ohio where the first presidential debate of 2020 was held.

The White House says he did travel to New Jersey after learning one of his top aides, Hope Hicks, had tested positive for COVID.

“It was deemed safe for the president to go. He socially distanced. It was an outdoor event and it was deemed safe by White House operations,” Explained White House Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany.

Since Trump’s positive test, he has removed himself from the campaign trail and his events have been cancelled or made virtual.

For now, his campaign strategy remains a mystery, as does what will happen to the second debate which is scheduled for October 15.

“I’ve already heard some conversation perhaps it could be moved remotely,” explained Brian, “If we don’t have the ability to judge these candidates on stage like we do during a normal campaign, it’s really a disservice, it’s a shortcoming of the campaign.”

There’s one question on everyone’s mind: What happens if the President is unable to continue on the campaign, especially now that many ballots have already been sent out with his name on them?

“That really would be unprecedented, any votes that have been cast for President Trump would go to the Republican nominee, who in this case would almost certainly be Vice President Mike Pence,” said Brian. “God willing, we don’t come to that point.”

Speaking with Sean Hannity on Fox New, President Trump suggested Hicks might have contracted the virus from meet and greets with the military and law enforcement.