’Honor system’ for COVID-19 testing of campaign staff before presidential debate, moderator says

Posted at 5:03 PM, Oct 02, 2020

The moderator from Tuesday’s presidential debate says there was an “honor system” for both campaigns when it came to completing COVID-19 tests for their staff ahead of the event.

Fox News host Chris Wallace was speaking with his colleague Bill Hemmer Friday afternoon. They were discussing reports from earlier in the day that Trump’s family did not wear masks while seated during the debate in Cleveland.

Wallace confirmed the report and said the Trump family were offered masks by the Cleveland Clinic staff and “rejected them.”

He also said when President Donald Trump came into the hall Tuesday afternoon to look at the stage set-up, “members of the commission (on presidential debates) were not especially happy with the fact that the presidential party was not wearing a mask” during the walk-through.

The statement released from the Cleveland Clinic Friday morning in regard to these developments stated, “Most importantly, everyone permitted inside the debate hall tested negative for COVID-19 prior to entry. Individuals traveling with both candidates, including the candidates themselves, had been tested and tested negative by their respective campaigns.”

Wallace confirmed this, and said there would not have been enough time to have people from the campaigns tested on-site in Cleveland and receive results back before the debate needed to start.

“They didn’t arrive until Tuesday afternoon, so for them to get tested, there wouldn’t have been enough time to have the test and have the debate later that night at 9 o’clock,” Wallace told Hemmer. “So yeah, there was an honor system when it came to the people who came into the hall from the two campaigns.”

Wallace said people who were on the ground for multiple days in Cleveland, like himself and Hemmer who covered the debate for Fox News, were tested by the Cleveland Clinic. There was also safety protocols in place for attendees.