Biden adviser says White House has not reached out on Covid tracing as Trump team continue attacks on Twitter

Trump campaign claims Biden’s negative ads are still running and that media are deliberately overhyping president’s condition

Andrew Naughtie
Monday 05 October 2020 10:04 BST
Joe Biden's team says he will be tested 'regularly' for coronavirus

A top aide to Joe Biden has said that nobody from the Trump campaign or administration has reached out to the vice president or his team to help establish who may have been infected at last week’s debate.

Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, senior adviser Symone Sanders was asked by Jake Tapper if anyone on the opposing side had “reached out to anyone on the Biden campaign about who may have been infected at the debate to ensure that everyone on your team takes the proper precautions”.

Ms Sanders answered that nobody had.

“I want to first start by saying, we extend our thoughts and prayers to President Trump and the first lady. We're sincerely hoping that the president makes a very quick recovery, and we can see him back out on the campaign trail very soon. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family, the folks at the White House, and, frankly, anyone that's been exposed as of late to this virus.

“No, we haven't heard, to my knowledge, from the Trump campaign or the White House.

“But the reality is that vice president Biden was not exposed. According to CDC guidance, you – less than six feet away is dangerous. Vice president Biden was always more than six feet away from president Trump.”

It has still not been made clear when Mr Trump is thought to have been infected, if that is indeed known. Mr Biden has tested negative multiple times since the debate, to which Mr Trump arrived too late to receive a rapid test.  

He was accompanied there by Melania Trump, who like him did not wear a mask – and who has also tested positive and developed symptoms.

While Mr Biden’s campaign announced they would suspend their negative TV ads attacking the president after his diagnosis, Trump campaign spokespeople have not responded in kind.

Instead, many of them have lashed out on Twitter, ridiculing and raging against Mr Biden along standard attack lines.

While the Biden campaign announced its decision to pull the ads on Friday, some were still running over the weekend, and as several members of the Trump media team pointed out, certain Facebook negative ads launched before the president was hospitalised continued to appear.

The campaign has raised hundreds of millions of dollars over the summer, and has plunged much of it into aggressive on-air advertising across scores of different media markets, and it can take at least 24 hours to pull an ad from scheduled slots.

Meanwhile, Mr Biden has continued campaigning in person and online since Mr Trump was taken to hospital, including giving speeches in which he has slammed the president’s handling of the coronavirus. At one virtual question-and-answer session with a transit union on Saturday, he addressed a question about personal protective equipment cautiously.

“I’m in a little bit of a spot here because I don’t want to be attacking the president and the first lady now they’ve contracted coronavirus. And Jill and I pray for their quick and full recovery. But our thoughts are with the families and the members you’ve lost as well.” He went on to criticise the president for failing to ensure essential workers were given protective equipment.

“If that’s not the president’s responsibility,” he said, “what the heck is his responsibility?”

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