COLUMBUS – House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today issued a statement following a tweet from President Donald Trump that he and the First Lady have tested positive for COVID-19. Leader Sykes attended the presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday evening and was in the same room as the President and his team, including Hope Hicks. Many in the President’s entourage were not wearing masks.

“Americans woke this morning to this news of which the ripple effects are yet to be seen. This is a very somber moment for our country in a year of somber moments.

The President’s diagnosis poses a risk for not only our national security, our economic stability but also our upcoming election. I wish the President, First Lady and his team a speedy recovery and I encourage my fellow Americans to do the same. We all need to recognize the severity of this virus and encourage mask-wearing and social distancing; we all need to follow the guidelines and I am relieved to hear that the President, who has refused to follow so many of the guidelines, now plans to quarantine.

Sitting in the debate hall on Tuesday, I was concerned with so many in the President’s entourage who refused to wear masks, despite urging from Cleveland Clinic physicians. I am frustrated today as I worry now about my own health and the health of so many others who were present that evening like journalists, support staff, Cleveland Clinic professionals, and many others who could have potentially been exposed.

This didn’t have to happen. If more would follow the guidelines, this wouldn’t continue to happen.”

Leader Sykes is self-isolating at this time and will get tested as she awaits more formal and official guidance from the proper health authorities. She was tested on Tuesday, as a requirement of debate organizers, and received negative results that afternoon.


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