VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – With just a month to go before the U.S. presidential election, what does Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis mean for his campaign and chances?
One expert says the development could provide obstacles. The diagnosis takes away Trump’s ability to hold in-person rallies for the next while, which could hurt him.
However, depending on public reaction, having COVID-19 also may give the president a boost.
“It probably does put him at a slightly further disadvantage unless there’s a sort of sympathy bump,” David Moscrop, a political scientist with the University of Ottawa, says.
“And it’s possible that there’s this sort of public reaction that elicits sympathy from folks.”
Trump confirmed early Friday morning that both he and his wife, Melania, had tested positive for COVID-19. This came after Trump’s adviser, Hope Hicks, contracted the coronavirus earlier.
The development was followed by swift reaction, some supportive and others highly critical, from the public, as well as world leaders.
Moscrop says Trump could benefit from people wishing him well with his recovery. He also believes the situation could limit how far Democrat Joe Biden can go on the offensive while the president recovers.
“There’s one sort of strategy here, that’s where Trump could leverage this moment to at least blunt the Biden campaign, if not change some votes,” Moscrop tells NEWS 1130. “There is a possibility for a swing to an advantage, or at least to some advantage, by blunting the Biden campaign and by eliciting some sympathy.”
As for any potential that the election could be delayed, Moscrop says the American system won’t allow for that.
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife have both tested negative for COVID-19. It’s also been confirmed that Biden does not have the coronavirus.