The Latest: Omar blasts Trump for ‘actively spreading’ virus

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump testing positive for the coronavirus (all times EDT):

3:30 p.m.

Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, a frequent target of President Donald Trump’s, is blasting him for what she calls “actively spreading a deadly virus.”

Omar said earlier this year that her father died of the virus, and she said in a statement Friday that she doesn’t wish it on anyone.

Omar, a Democrat, says the nation has been waiting for months to hear Trump say America “will get through this together.” And she says he’s saying that now because it’s about him.

Trump announced earlier Friday that he and the first lady had tested positive for the coronavirus.

She criticized Trump for holding a rally and fundraiser this week in Minnesota without wearing a mask, saying he exposed hundreds of people in a state where cases are already rising.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TRUMP CONTRACTING THE CORONAVIRUS

The president announced early Friday that he and the first lady had tested positive for the coronavirus. The results came hours after it was revealed that top White House aide Hope Hicks had contracted COVID-19. His Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, and his wife, Jill, said they have tested negative after encountering Trump at Tuesday’s debate.

The White House does not appear to be making any changes to current virus protocol, even after President Donald Trump and the first lady tested positive for COVID-19.

A senior White House official said Friday that masks will still not be mandatory at the White House, describing facial coverings as “a personal choice,” despite overwhelming evidence that they help to stop the spread.

And the White House is not planning to move to a different, more reliable testing system after the one it uses failed to detect that adviser Hope Hicks had the virus the day she began experiencing symptoms.

The president, his White House and his campaign have generally taken a lax approach to the pandemic, continuing to hold large events and failing to abide by social distancing recommendations.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal White House thinking, defended the current system.

The vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris next week will go on as scheduled after President Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday.

An official with the Commission on Presidential Debates confirmed that no changes are anticipated to the Wednesday night debate in Salt Lake City. Both Pence and Harris underwent tests for the coronavirus on Friday and tested negative.

Pence’s physician said in a memo that the vice president was not considered a “close contact” of anyone infected with COVID-19 and was not required to quarantine.

“Vice President Mike Pence remains in good health and is free to go about his normal activities,” said Navy Lt. Commander Dr. Jesse Schonau in a statement.

President Donald Trump’s campaign manager says all campaign events involving the president and his family will either be turned into virtual events or postponed until further notice.

Bill Stepien, who heads Trump’s reelection, says Vice President Mike Pence, who has tested negative for COVID-19, plans to continue to his campaign schedule.

The announcement comes after Trump tweeted earlier Friday that he and his wife tested positive for the coronavirus.

It is not clear when the president was exposed. One of the president’s top advisers, Hope Hicks, tested positive on Thursday for the virus. Two others — Utah Sen. Mike Lee and University of Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins — who attended Trump’s Rose Garden ceremony on Saturday to announce the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court — have also tested positive for the virus.

Comedian Joe Piscopo attended the fundraiser at Bedminster on Thursday, which he described as a small gathering in New Jersey for Trump’s friends.

“It was meticulously run, from the Secret Service to COVID testing to masking,” Piscopo told The Associated Press on the phone. The president came out of the portico to talk to guests seated at tables “yards and yards” away. Piscopo said he was at the back of the crowd and said, “We were all social distancing and it was all outside.”

He added, “I’ve never seen him more on top of his game, warm, funny, vulnerable.” The president gave a 30-minute speech. Piscopo said he could not talk about it specifically but said that it was “all positive.” The president then answered questions. Piscopo said the president greeted the crowd of friends and called out to him specifically.

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