White House triggers questions and confusion about Trump’s coronavirus case

A White House official later added that Trump’s vitals had become concerning Friday morning, hours before he was moved to the hospital. Meanwhile, numerous indications emerged that Trump had received oxygen at the White House during that time period — a step frequently needed for patients with serious coronavirus cases. The revelations swiftly cast a harsh spotlight on Conley’s carefully phrased denials about Trump needing oxygen assistance.

Conley and Trump’s medical team also sent shockwaves through the White House and political landscape with their timeline of Trump’s first positive coronavirus test. During the briefing, Conley said it had been 72 hours since Trump was diagnosed with Covid-19, suggesting Trump knew about his status on Wednesday, well before he revealed it overnight Thursday into Friday. That would mean Trump had gone on with his normal schedule, traveling and working in close proximity to aides and staffers, for well over a full day.

Yet again, though, the White House scrambled minutes after the briefing to clarify the timeline from the medical team. Another White House aide said the doctor had meant to say “day 3” instead of “72 hours,” since Trump had been diagnosed Thursday night. Conley made the clarification official a few hours later, releasing what amounted to the fourth statement of the day from the White House.

Still, questions lingered about Conley’s wording that Trump’s medical team had “repeated testing” on “Thursday afternoon,” perhaps indicating an earlier initial test before firm confirmation that evening.

It was a head-spinning sequence reflective of a White House — and president — not always known for transparency on health matters. As a candidate, Trump infamously had his doctor declare he would be the “healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” And as president, Trump’s former physician triggered eyerolls when he claimed the president could have lived to “200 years old” with a better diet. The White House has also given head-scratching explanations for an unusual trip to Walter Reed last year.

“The world has to know whether the president of the United States is in good health,” said Scott Jennings, who worked for President George W. Bush and is close to the Trump White House. “You cannot have inconsistent reports about the president’s health.”

“I am stunned that the White House put the president’s doctor out there and then issued a contradictory statement,” he added. “You can’t do that. This just invites questions about what’s going on there.”

Since the coronavirus hit the U.S., the White House has similarly been coy at times about staffers testing positive, with some of the more notable infections only being confirmed after leaks to the press.

Trump’s case has been no different. One former senior administration official said only a few people, like the president’s family, actually know the full truth about Trump’s condition. As a result, conflicting rumors about Trump’s health have been flying around the presidential orbit.

In a four-minute video released Saturday evening, Trump contradicted Meadows and other top officials who had framed his health

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Death of candidate in Minn. House race triggers special election next year

“I want to offer condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Weeks. The loss of any of us is a tragedy, and that’s felt especially in someone who has put his energy into a campaign to serve in public office,” Secretary of State Steve Simon (D) said in a statement. “The law is clear on what happens next. If a major party nominee dies within 79 days of Election Day; a special election will be held for that office on the second Tuesday of February.”

Craig, 48, whose term ends in January, now faces a Feb. 9 special election.

The congresswoman won the seat in 2018 after losing two years earlier in part because of a left-wing, third-party candidate. Kistner was running a serious race against Craig, but the Democrat was well-funded and the seat was not seen as a top Republican target.

The special election could be competitive. President Trump narrowly won the district south of the Twin Cities with 46 percent of the vote, edging out Hillary Clinton due to a high share of votes for third-party candidates.

Minnesota has experienced the death of a candidate in the middle of a campaign before. In 2002, Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash, and Democrats hurriedly nominated former vice president Walter Mondale to replace him.

That led to confusion about ballots already cast for Wellstone, which, to Democrats’ detriment, were not counted for Mondale. The state subsequently changed the law, requiring a new election if a “major party” candidate dies within 79 days of Election Day. The old problem — what to do with votes for a dead candidate — was gone because the parties no longer would replace that candidate on the ballot. It would be settled by a special election.

The election law, passed in 2013, may face legal scrutiny. The date of federal elections has been set at the first Tuesday of November for nearly 150 years, by Congress. If Minnesota’s law, never tested, were superseded, votes that started being cast last week might be tallied; if seated, the winner would serve for a month before a special election.

The Legal Marijuana Now Party, a 22-year-old left-wing party, was able to gain “major party” status based on 2018 results. Minnesota grants “major party” status to any party that gets more than 5 percent of the vote in the previous election, and in 2018, as Democrats swept Minnesota’s statewide races, 5.3 percent of voters opted for the Legal Marijuana Now Party’s candidate for state auditor.

That created a problem for Democrats this year, and the party filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against Weeks, whose social media posts suggested that he supported Republicans and who was not filing required paperwork about his finances.

Craig issued a statement this week about Weeks.

“I was deeply saddened to hear the tragic news of Adam Weeks’s passing earlier this week,” Craig said, adding that she and her spouse, Cheryl Greene, were “praying for the Weeks family

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