TONYA MOSLEY, HOST:
President Trump announced overnight that he and the first lady have tested positive for the coronavirus. This afternoon the president was flown to Walter Reed Hospital, where he will be hospitalized for the next few days. The White House says it's out of an abundance of caution. Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden have tested negative for the coronavirus. The Democratic nominee shared the debate stage with President Trump on Tuesday, and Jill Biden was in the audience. To discuss the Biden campaign perspective, we're joined by NPR political correspondent Scott Detrow.
SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Hey. Good afternoon.
MOSLEY: Yes. What have we heard about the Biden today - or from Biden today?
DETROW: Well, he just spoke in Michigan, in Grand Rapids, Mich. Notably, he wore a mask during his entire speech, which is unusual. Usually, Biden takes his mask off when he's actually speaking. Biden made it clear he is rooting for the president here.
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JOE BIDEN: My wife Jill and I pray that they'll make a quick and full recovery. This is not a matter of politics. It's a bracing reminder to all of us that we have to take this virus seriously. It's not going away automatically.
DETROW: Biden didn't fault the president for dismissing social distancing and masks, but he did reiterate the importance of wearing masks and other precautions. Biden said he was actually tested twice today. He was negative. And as a reminder, he stood about 15 feet from President Trump for an hour and a half at the debate this week.
MOSLEY: Let's take a step back, Scott. These two candidates, in terms of how they approach campaigning, have treated this pandemic very differently.
DETROW: Yeah. Biden has taken this seriously for political reasons, thinking voters want to see that, but practical reasons, too. He's a 77-year-old man and therefore a high-risk person for this. He essentially didn't leave his house from mid-March until June. And then over the summer, he only campaigned in very controlled events within driving distance of his house with a very minimal crowd. In recent weeks, he's ramped up campaign travel and flown to swing states, but they have still kept things controlled.
I was on a two-state train tour with him this week, and everyone on the train was required to wear N95 masks. When Biden did interact with voters, they stood on specifically marked spots. And President Trump, of course, has taken the opposite approach and at times mocked Joe Biden for his caution, including at this week's debate.
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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: When needed, I wear masks.
CHRIS WALLACE: OK. Let me ask...
TRUMP: I don't have - I don't wear masks like him. Every time you see him, he's got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from it, and he shows up with the biggest mask I've ever seen.
DETROW: The president has held large rallies, as we've talked a lot about. And you saw the difference in approaches at the debate. The Trump family and top staff were the only people in that audience not wearing masks.
MOSLEY: Biden, as you mentioned, spoke in Michigan today. Given these contrasting approaches to campaigning and the unfolding events, is it surprising that Biden is actually back on the trail?
DETROW: You know, I personally was a little surprised to see him go forward with the travel. The campaign has prioritized science, listening to scientists. And we know that a negative test just three days after a potential exposure might not catch an infection. But as I've noted before, the campaign really has been careful all along. A campaign official told us Biden tested negative. He wasn't in close contact with the president, which they're defining as six feet. He wore a mask at all times except when he was on the stage. And everyone Biden travels with is tested beforehand, and masks are required. And the speech today was outdoors, and Biden did cancel a second event that had been planned that would have been indoors.
MOSLEY: And he made some statements wishing the best to the president and the first lady.
DETROW: Yeah, he did. Biden has done that a couple times today. It was very clear to anyone who watched on Tuesday that there is no love lost between these two men. But Biden said he's sincerely praying for President Trump. Jill Biden said that as well today.
MOSLEY: That's NPR political correspondent Scott Detrow.
Scott, thank you.
DETROW: Thank you.
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