President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis is sure to have an impact on the final month of the presidential campaign, but FOX News Sunday host Chris Wallace, who hosted this week’s debate, says it may be too early to say exactly what that will be.
In a Friday morning interview with FOX 13 News, Wallace said he thinks, at the very least, the diagnosis will keep the president from holding rallies in person, a campaign style that he seems to prefer.
“It’s going to keep the president off the campaign trail for at least 10 days, maybe two weeks. That’s assuming he doesn’t have any symptoms and doesn’t get sick from this. And that’s going to throw his campaign into some disarray. He obviously likes campaigning on the trail, He likes being in front of people. That’s off the schedule for now.”
The COVID-19 pandemic, which is blamed for 200,000 U.S. deaths, has always been a key element of the presidential race. Other issues – from race and policing to the Supreme Court nomination – have recently taken more attention, but that changes now and Wallace says that may not be in Trump’s favor.
“This clearly is going to make the way the president has handled the coronavirus, how seriously he has or hasn’t taken it, that’s going to be the big issue now. That issue, at least up to this point in the polls, maybe has been his greatest weakness. So this is going to have political implications, no doubt about it.”
Trump’s opponent issued a brief statement on Twitter this morning, wishing him a “swift recovery.” And while Joe Biden will continue campaigning, Wallace thinks he’ll have to be careful about how he does that.
“He has to campaign,” Wallace continued. “He can’t in any way try to score political points. I think that would very much backfire on him, but I don’t have any reason to believe that’s the way he would handle it.”
Wallace has taken some criticism for his handling of the debate this week, in part because of frequent interruptions by President Trump. The Commission on Presidential Debates was planning changes for the next debate in Miami, but it’s not yet clear if that will even take place.
“He’s a 74-year-old man. That puts him in the target group, as, frankly, are Joe Biden – who’s 77 – and I’m 72. And you know, we were all up there on the stage," Wallce noted. "But we’re all hoping and praying for the president’s recovery.”