Chris Wallace Says Donald Trump Wasn't Tested for COVID Pre-Debate Because He Arrived Late

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, who moderated Tuesday's contentious presidential debate, said on Friday that President Donald Trump was not tested for COVID-19 before taking the debate stage because he did not show up in time.

Tuesday's debate was held at the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University Campus in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cleveland Clinic served as the health adviser for the debates and recommended certain coronavirus mitigation protocols. Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden did not shake hands before the debate but were not required to wear masks during the debate itself. Trump announced on Friday that he and First Lady Melania Trump had contracted the coronavirus.

Wallace told Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer there was an "honor system" between the two campaigns when it came to being tested for the virus prior to the debate. According to Wallace, Trump and his entourage "couldn't be tested by the clinic" because they arrived too late.

chris wallace
Chris Wallace, moderator of the first 2020 presidential debate, said Friday that Donald Trump did not arrive to the debate site in time on Tuesday to receive a coronavirus test. Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

"So for them to get tested, there wouldn't have been enough time to have the test and have the debate at 9:00 that night," Wallace continued. "They didn't show up until 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 in the afternoon. Yeah, there was an honor system when it came to the people that came into the hall from the two campaigns."

According to a statement released Friday by the Cleveland Clinic, each person allowed into the debate hall had tested negative for COVID-19. "Individuals traveling with both candidates, including the candidates themselves, had been tested and tested negative by their respective campaigns." Newsweek reached out to the Cleveland Clinic for comment.

Both candidates were joined by their wives on stage at the conclusion of the debate. Jill Biden wore a face mask while congratulating her husband, but Melania Trump did not.

Biden said in a Friday tweet that both and his wife had tested negative for coronavirus. "I hope this serves as a reminder," Biden wrote, "wear a mask, keep social distance, and wash your hands."

On Thursday, Trump adviser Hope Hicks tested positive for COVID-19, causing Trump to announce that he would begin the quarantining process while awaiting test results. On Friday, Trump confirmed that he and Melania Trump had tested positive. "We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately," Trump tweeted. "We will get through this TOGETHER!"

According to a memorandum from White House physician Sean Conley, Trump has been given a single dose of Regeneron, a therapeutic "polyclonal antibody cocktail." Trump has also been taking, zinc, Vitamin D, famotidine, melatonin and aspirin.