ELECTION 2020

Sen. Chuck Grassley foresees no long-term impact on Trump presidency from coronavirus outbreak among White House inner circle

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, answers questions Tuesday from members of the East Side Cedar Rapids Rotary at Legacy Manuf
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, answers questions Tuesday from members of the East Side Cedar Rapids Rotary at Legacy Manufacturing in Marion. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

MARION — Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, sees no long-term impact on the presidency or the presidential campaign from President Donald Trump contracting COVID-19 — as long as he’s able to get back on the campaign trail by mid-October.

Trump is recovering at the White House after testing positive and being hospitalized for three days with the coronavirus that has so far killed more than 210,000 Americans. Trump has signaled he plans to return to the campaign trail soon.

“If he can get out on the campaign trail in the next 11 or 12 days, I don’t think it hurts at all,” Grassley said Tuesday about Trump’s reelection chances.

Grassley, who spoke to the East Side Cedar Rapids Rotary in Marion, predicted it would help the president’s campaign if he can participate in future debates in person rather than virtually, as some people have suggested.

Trump tweeted that he plans to debate Democratic challenger former Vice President Joe Biden in Miami next week.

Grassley, who called the first presidential debate a “free-for-all,” said Trump missed an opportunity to talk about his accomplishments over the past four years and his vision for the future. He would have liked to hear the president contrast his plans with Biden’s plan to raise taxes, for example.

He hopes Vice President Mike Pence, who returned to the campaign trail as soon as Trump announced he would be leaving the hospital Monday, will make the case for four more years when he debates Democratic vice presidential candidate California Sen. Kamala Harris on Wednesday night in Salt Lake City.

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“I think that Pence has a wonderful opportunity, because there’s so much difference between where Harris and Biden come from,” Grassley said. Pence needs to make clear to voters “there’s a dark line between what one candidate believes versus what the other believes and where they’re going to take the country over the next four years.”

Later Tuesday, Grassley had events in Washington, Iowa, and Maquoketa.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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