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Trump’s campaign manager tests positive for Covid-19



Stepien received the test results on Friday evening and suffers from the symptoms described by the official as “mildly flu-like”.

Stepien traveled to Cleveland with the president and his team on Tuesday for the first presidential debate and was spotted in close proximity to Hope Hicks, the president’s top adviser, who also tested positive.

Stepien was one of a group of senior Trump campaign workers who were tested, but he’s the only one whose results have been positive so far. Deputy Campaign Manager Justin Clark’s test results were negative.

He also attended pre-debate sessions with former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, who also announced on Friday that she had tested positive.
Stepien will work from home, said the officer. Politico was the first to report the positive result.
The news came at the end of the wild day that began when the president announced on Twitter just before 1
a.m. that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for coronavirus. Before the day was over, Trump was treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and at least seven Republican politicians and close Trump confidants had announced that they too had tested positive for Covid-19.
Stepien became campaign manager in July when Trump replaced Brad Parscale, who had served in the role, with him on the same day that two national polls showed the president was outperforming alleged then-alleged Democratic candidate Joe Biden. He brought an important understanding of data and metrics to the president’s re-election bid to reverse declining polls in major battlefield competitions.

Prior to the reorganization, Stepien was a deputy for Parscale and previously held a senior role in Trump’s administration as political director of the White House.

He took part in Trump’s first presidential campaign in August 2016, making him the first addition since Conway as campaign manager at the time and former top Trump adviser Steve Bannon as CEO at the time.

Trump adviser Jared Kushner recruited Stepien to join the Trump campaign, and the two are close. A source with knowledge of the hiring told CNN at the time that Bannon was a key player in Stepien’s recruitment.

As national director of John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and political director of New Hampshire in the re-election of President George W. Bush in 2004, Stepien brought a lot of campaigning experience to Trump’s mission. But he has also controversially discussed Trump’s first run.

Stepien was campaign manager and deputy chief of staff for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a close confidante and advisor to Trump. But Christie fired Stepien in January 2014 amid the Bridgegate scandal in which Christie workers ordered lanes to be closed on the George Washington Bridge in political retaliation.

Stepien was ultimately not indicted in the federal investigation into lane closures. However, court documents later showed that a Christie aide texted a colleague during Christie’s December 2013 press conference about the gushing scandal that Christie “just lied that officers and Stepien were not involved”.

This story has been updated with additional details.

CNN’s Maegan Vazquez, Jeremy Diamond and Jim Acosta contributed to this report.


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