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Trump advisers say campaign schedule will be 'aggressive'

Vice President Mike Pence is expected to hit

Vice President Mike Pence is expected to hit the campaign trail while the president is hospitalized.  Credit: AP/Charlie Neibergall

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top campaign advisers vowed Sunday to move forward with an "aggressive" campaign schedule despite the president’s current hospitalization and amid concerns that additional staff members and supporters at his recent events could test positive for COVID-19 in the coming days.

"He’s anxious to get back out there on the campaign trail," Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller told ABC’s "This Week."

Trump on Sunday remained at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where the president’s medical team and White House officials initially offered conflicting accounts of his conditions on Saturday, with doctors indicating the president was doing "very well," while White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters the president’s vitals 24-hours earlier "were very concerning."

On Sunday, the president's medical team said Trump could be released as "early as" Monday, while also noting Trump's oxygen saturation levels had twice dropped since his initial diagnosis.

With 30 days left until Election Day, Miller, making the rounds of the Sunday political talk show circuit, said the Trump campaign would continue with an "aggressive" campaign schedule, relying on surrogates, including Vice President Mike Pence and the president’s children.

Miller said he has no concerns about Pence hitting the campaign trail, when asked on NBC’s "Meet the Press" whether it was prudent for Trump’s second in command to be traveling while the president remains hospitalized.

"We're in a campaign. We have a month to go," Miller said, adding that Pence will be "hitting the trail in Arizona, will probably be in Nevada, he'll be back here in D.C., and he's going to have a very full aggressive schedule as well as the first family."

Miller continued to take aim at Biden’s public use of face masks as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, accusing Biden on ABC’s "This Week" of using the protective coverings as "a prop."

Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said, "That tells you a lot of what you need to know about how the Trump campaign has treated this from the outset," in response to Miller’s remarks.

"Joe Biden believes that the words of a president matter, that the actions of a president matter," Bedingfield said. "From the outset, he has taken this seriously, he has encouraged Americans to wear a mask, to protect each other."

Bedingfield said the campaign was confident that the vice presidential debate between Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) could go on as planned on Wednesday, and Biden was prepared to debate Trump on Oct. 15 should the president no longer be quarantined.

"We are hoping for a speedy and full recovery, as is everybody in this country," Bedingfield said.

On CNN's "State of the Union," Biden campaign senior adviser Symone Sanders said the former vice president is tested "regularly" for coronavirus.

Sanders said that Biden was not exposed to Trump at last Tuesday's debate in Cleveland.

"We have been adhering to public health guidance from the beginning of this onset of this pandemic," Sanders said. "Vice President Biden has tested negative. Our traveling staff has tested negative."

Nearly two dozen White House aides and Republican officials who have been in close proximity to Trump over the past two weeks have tested positive for COVID-19, including first lady Melania Trump, senior White House adviser Hope Hicks, campaign manager Bill Stepien, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former adviser Kellyanne Conway, the president’s personal attendant Nick Luna, Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, and Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Tom Tillis of North Carolina.

Trump campaign senior adviser Steve Cortes said on "Fox News Sunday" that Trump's infection was bound to happen.

"He was unwilling to completely sequester himself to take no risk because leaders take risks and he is the servant of the people," Cortes said.

Trump's top public health officials have repeatedly said the risk of contracting the disease can be reduced by wearing masks in public and via social distancing. The president's Rose Garden ceremony to announce his Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett has come under scrutiny after several attendees have tested positive. The majority of guests did not wear masks and were seated close together.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), reiterated his calls for Senate Republicans to postpone Barrett's confirmation hearing, noting that two Republicans on the Judiciary Committee — Lee and Tillis — have tested positive.

"We should be delaying these hearings so we can have a full and fair hearing, not something over Zoom," Schumer, the Senate minority leader, said at a news conference in Manhattan.

Schumer said a virtual hearing, as has been suggested by Senate Republicans eager to confirm Barrett before the Nov. 3 election, does not make sense because the process demands give and take with the nominee.

Schumer also demanded transparency when it comes to Trump's health, saying the president's "cavalier attitude" toward masks, social distancing and other coronavirus restrictions has "endangered many people, including himself."

With Scott Eidler and Michael O'Keeffe

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