Charles Taylor

Charles Taylor, associate professor of political science and managing director of Bowen Center for Public Affairs/Public Administration

Testing positive for the coronavirus will force President Trump to curtail public appearances over the next 10-14 days, but the use of online technologies like Zoom and Skype will allow the presidential campaign to continue, says Charles Taylor, a political science professor at Ball State University.

The President made the announcement that he and the First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive on Twitter at about 1 a.m. on Friday.

“The politics industry, like other industries, has developed ways of using technology in place of travel and in-person events,” said Taylor, who is also managing director of the University’s Bowen Center for Public Affairs. “So, the president’s health permitting, I would expect he’ll still be actively campaigning in some capacity.”

At 74, the president is at higher risk for having more severe consequences from a coronavirus infection.

The latest development could upset the schedule for upcoming presidential debates, said Taylor, who also noted that if the president’s case is mild, then it may not affect his ability to participate.

“If he has an extended experience with the virus or more severe symptoms, then the impact on the debates, the campaign and his presidency would likely be more serious,” Taylor said.

Taylor also pointed out that former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, is making the president’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic a large part of his campaign messaging.

“This development brings even greater salience,” he said. “But it also means that the Biden team will need to handle this messaging carefully. I think that everyone hopes for a speedy and full recovery for President and First Lady Trump. The Biden team would certainly want to avoid any comments that might be construed as less than sympathetic.”