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Trump testing positive for COVID-19 could shape the final weeks before the election

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WASHINGTON (WPRI) — There’s nearly one month until the presidential election and every second counts for candidates on the campaign trail, and with President Donald Trump testing positive for COVID-19, 12 News Political Analyst Joe Fleming believes he will utilize social media even more while in isolation.

The world learned the president and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus via Twitter early Friday morning.

Fleming said often times, political scientists predict what they call an “October surprise” ─ a planned event or bombshell announcement that sways voters in favor of a certain candidate.

“This could become a big thing down the road, or it may not,” Fleming said. “I mean coronavirus is not something the president really wants to talk about. This keeps it in the forefront so that’s not a good sign for him, but I think an October surprise could be something even bigger than this, if something comes along.”

Fleming said right now, despite reportedly having mild symptoms, Trump seems to still be able to perform his duties as president.

“The president has the best around him all the time, so they’re going to keep a close eye on this, so they see anything start to happen, they’re going to move very quickly to help the president,” he said.

Fleming thinks Trump supporters will remain loyal to him during this time.

“You’re not going to see a decline in his supporters,” he said. “The big question is what’s going to happen with those undecided voters ─ that 12% of voters or so that have not made up their mind.”

The next presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 15, right when Trump should be ending his isolation period.

In the meantime, Fleming believes local officials and politicians will continue to push the importance of mask-wearing and social distancing.

In a tweet Friday, Sen. Jack Reed said this is a good reminder that no one is immune to the virus.

“I urge every Rhode Islander to keep following the best health practices to reduce transmission and protect one another,” Reed said. “Wearing a mask, social distancing and self-quarantining are all critical tools in this fight.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse also took to Twitter to wish the president and first lady well.

Reps. David Cicilline and Jim Langevin both tweeted saying he’s keeping the first couple in his thoughts.

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