"I don't think there's any question it's going to raise questions again about how seriously the president has taken the coronavirus," Wallace said Friday

By Sean Neumann
October 02, 2020 11:04 AM
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Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace said he will get tested for the novel coronavirus next Monday, after having been exposed to President Donald Trump on Tuesday night while moderating the debate with Joe Biden.

"My doctor is telling me that I shouldn't get a test today because it takes five days for the virus to load up enough and that I could have a test, but it might well be a false negative," Wallace said on Fox News on Friday. "The significance of that to me is that if the president had a test yesterday and it tested positive, then I think he had the coronavirus during the debate."

Wallace said earlier in the morning there was "no sign" Trump had any health issues during Tuesday night's debate.

However, he later speculated on the timeline after consulting his own doctor about when the virus begins to show up on test results.

"This talk about — well, he was with [adviser] Hope Hicks on the plane in Minnesota on Wednesday, I don't think you'd have a positive test," Wallace said, clarifying, "Again, I'm not a doctor, I'm simply telling it in terms of what I was told by my doctor. It wouldn't load up enough to have a definitive, positive test for about four or five days, which is why I'm not getting tested until next Monday."

The longtime news anchor pointed out in multiple interviews Friday morning that he, Trump and Biden are all older and of a higher risk when it comes to the respiratory illness.

The three were together on stage for an hour and a half Tuesday night, though they remained distanced and did not shake hands. (At the debate, the president also spoke disdainfully of Biden wearing a mask, though he said face coverings were "okay" and he wore them "when needed.")

"The three people on that stage were all 70-plus," Wallace said on Fox & Friends in an earlier interview Friday. "Obviously, the vice president is 77. The president is 74. I'm 72. We are all in the high-risk factor."

During that interview, Wallace said "you can bet I've already been asked by a lot of people" about the news overnight that Trump, 74, and First Lady Melania Trump, 50, had tested positive for COVID-19.

Chris Wallace at Tuesday's presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump
| Credit: JIM WATSON/Getty Images

"I'm going to have to get a test because, although I think I was far enough away, we all take that question: Were you exposed to somebody who was tested positive for COVID? The answer is yes," Wallace added.

Debate organizers said the audience members were screened for the virus beforehand, though the candidates' testing was reportedly conducted by their campaigns and not debate or health officials.

The White House has remained officially tight-lipped about what symptoms, if any, the president and first lady are showing while confirming that Vice President Mike Pence and others have since tested negative.

White House physician Sean Conley said in a memo sent to reporters early Friday that the Trumps were "both well at this time," and sources told The New York Times and other outlets that the president had only "mild" symptoms so far.

"Rest assured I expect the president to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any future developments," Conley said in his memo.

The president said he and Mrs. Trump were quarantining while they recover; aides said their teenage son, Barron, had tested negative and precautions were being taken with his health.

The president's age and weight put him at a higher risk of having complications from the COVID-19 respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

From left: First Lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump at the first debate with Joe Biden, on Tuesday
| Credit: Win McNamee/Getty

Wallace said Friday morning that he chafed at the news, as he assumes most Americans did, that the president has tested positive for the virus which has killed more than 207,000 people in the U.S. this year — the grimmest reality in a year of turmoil.

Biden has largely campaigned on what he called Trump's negligent mishandling of the virus, while Trump has increasingly blamed China, where the first major outbreak was reported.

"I turned to my wife and I said, as I'm sure a lot of us have said, 'It's 2020, because the unthinkable seems to be the next thing around the corner. You know, here's the next 2020 thing,' " Wallace said Friday.

"It's hard to predict how it'll impact [the election]. But I don't know, fairly or unfairly," he continued. "I don't think there's any question it's going to raise questions again about how seriously the president has taken the coronavirus."

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