The Slatest

Trump Reportedly Arrived to the Debate Too Late to Be Tested by Organizers

Trump pointing and walking with Melania.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump onstage after the first presidential debate on Tuesday in Cleveland. Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Donald Trump was not tested for the coronavirus by the Cleveland Clinic prior to the first presidential debate on Tuesday night, according to moderator and Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.

During a Fox segment on Friday, Wallace said that Trump arrived too late to the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic to be tested. “For them to get tested, there wouldn’t have been enough time to have the test and have the debate at 9 that night,” he said. “They didn’t show up until 3, 4, 5 in the afternoon. Yeah, there was an honor system when it came to the people that came into the hall from the two campaigns.”

Wallace, who arrived in Cleveland on Sunday, was tested by the clinic. Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany previously claimed in July that Trump gets tested “multiple times a day,” though it’s unclear if that’s still the case.

The president and first lady’s positive coronavirus tests, announced early Friday, shocked the country and have prompted speculation as to whether Joe Biden may have contracted the virus from Trump at the debate. The two candidates stood more than 6 feet apart, but they were both inside an atrium and not wearing masks. Biden and his wife, Jill, tested negative on Friday, though they need to undergo additional testing in order to confirm that they were not infected.

“Based on what we know about the virus and the safety measures we had in place, we believe there is low risk of exposure to our guests,” the Cleveland Clinic said in a statement following news of Trump’s illness.

More than half of the guests on Trump’s side at the debate reportedly declined to wear masks, while everyone on Biden’s side was wearing masks. A doctor with the clinic even approached some of Trump’s guest and offered them masks, but they refused. During the debate, Trump also ridiculed Biden for the extent of his mask-wearing. “I don’t wear masks like him,” the president said. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from them, and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”