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U of U: President’s test results ‘No impact yet’ on upcoming VP Debate

In this composite photograph, Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, and Vice President Mike Pence arrives to speak during the first day of the Republican National Convention Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. Carolyn Kaster and Chris Carlson, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City’s VP debate is up in the air, at least for now. 

After word that both President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for COVID-19, the future of Wednesday’s vice presidential debate to be hosted in Utah is uncertain.

Campus officials with the University of Utah, where the event will take place, say they expect to hear the final word from the Commission on Presidential Debates soon. However, they say the president’s positive test has had “no impact yet.”

According to the Deseret News, the vice president’s debate advance team toured the U. on Thursday before news broke that Hope Hicks, one of the President’s close advisors, had tested positive for the virus. 

In a tweet early Friday Morning, Pence’s press secretary, Devin O’Malley, said both the VP and the Second Lady were tested and their results came back negative. 

“As has been routine for months, Vice President Pence is tested for COVID-19 every day,” O’Malley wrote adding, “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.”

The last time Mr. Pence was was publicly seen with the president was on Monday during a press briefing in the Rose Garden discussing rapid COVID-19 testing.

Last Thursday, a spokesman for the Biden/Harris campaign said both the former vice president and California senator would receive regular testing as they increase the number of in-person campaign events. This announcement came after campaign manager Kate Bedingfield told ABC’s “This Week” that Mr. Biden had not received a COVID-19 test to that point. The results of those tests are not known at this time.

This week the University of Utah moved all students to online classes as well as announced that the number of those allowed into the 90-minute debate at Kingsbury Hall Wednesday would be strictly limited. Everyone in attendance would need to be credentialed, pass a COVID-19 test, wear a mask, and abide by other precautions. 

If Wednesday’s debate continues as scheduled it will air on KSL NewsRadio (102.7FM) and KSL 5 TV, both on-air or online.