Printed on Thu Oct 22 2020 5:55:01 AM

Donald Trump has coronavirus symptoms on his body

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Donald Trump
President Donald Trump is showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, but mild ones, according to two people familiar with his condition.

The president has had what one person described as coldlike symptoms. At a fundraiser he attended at his golf club at Bedminster, New Jersey, on Thursday, where one attendee said the president came in contact with about 100 people, he seemed lethargic.

A person briefed on the matter said that Trump fell asleep at one point on Air Force One on the way back from a rally in Minnesota on Wednesday night.

A White House official said that as of Thursday night, the president’s treatment plan was still being discussed. So was a possible national address or a videotaped statement from the president to demonstrate that he was functioning and that the government is uninterrupted.

Pence, the next in line for the presidency, tests negative.

Vice President Mike Pence — the first in line to assume the Oval Office if Trump becomes too ill to carry out his duties — tested negative for the virus Friday, a glimmer of stability on a day when questions are swirling over what comes next should Trump’s symptoms worsen.

The government’s continuity plan in case of a national emergency, which largely focuses on wide-scale attacks, outlines such a procedure.

The presidential line of succession, laid out in a 1947 law, falls first to Pence. If he were to become too ill to carry out the duties of the president, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, would step in, followed by the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. Pompeo said Friday that he tested negative and feels fine. Fifth in line is Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, whose spokeswoman tweeted Friday that he, too, tested negative.

Left unclear is how it is decided that a president is too ill to perform his duties.

The 25th Amendment was intended to deal with any ambiguity about who leads the government when a president cannot. If the president becomes sick and the Cabinet determines that he or she is unable to perform the office’s duties, the amendment grants the administration the power to temporarily transfer authority to the vice president. Once the president deems himself fit, he can reclaim the power of the presidency.

Should Mnuchin also be too ill to serve, next in line would be the secretary of defence, followed by the attorney general.

Attorney General William Barr was last in the same room with Trump on Saturday during a reception for his Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett. Barr will be tested, a spokeswoman said.

“He is not experiencing any symptoms, but out of an abundance of caution, will get tested this morning,” said the spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec.

voicetv/DH
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