Lara Trump, Fox News host Chris Wallace spar over president's family removing masks at first debate

WASHINGTON - Lara Trump, a top election worker for President Donald Trump, argued with Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday over the Trump family's refusal to wear face masks during the first presidential debate on September 29.
"Did you think, Lara, that the rules that apply to everyone else in this hall don't apply to you?" Fox News Sunday host Wallace said when he asked Lara Trump about the lack of face coverings in the Trump family during the debate.
"We went in with a mask on. We sat - all the seats were socially distant and ... Let me be very clear, no one from the Cleveland Clinic ever came and asked a member of our family to put a mask on so completely wrong, "she replied.
Trump said no one from the clinic asked her family to put a mask on, and she thought a Cleveland Clinic employee asked a person sitting behind her to offer a different mask. All members of the audience tested negative for COVID-19, Trump said.
Related: Lara Trump swears Trump "will America keep America"
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"What I understand later is that Colby Covington, who was sitting behind me, was wearing a MAGA mask and they didn't seem to appreciate that," she said, referring to the UFC fighter and Trump supporter who was a guest at the The President took part in the debate. "So I think they might want to offer him a different mask."
Wallace said a member of the Trump campaign group was offered a face mask by a Cleveland Clinic employee, citing both a pool report and a video, but "they were waved away." The video appears to show a co-worker offering a mask to a person sitting behind Trump, but does not capture one offered to family members.
The Trump family and other President's guests entered the Cleveland, Ohio debate wearing masks, but declined to wear face masks themselves during the debate despite the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Donald Trump Jr., son of the US President, Eric Trump, son of the US President, lawyer and television personality Kimberly Guilfoyle, campaign advisor to the US President, and Eric Trump's wife Lara Trump, daughter of US President Tiffany Trump and daughter and the senior Advisor to U.S. President Ivanka Trump is seen ahead of the first presidential debate at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio
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Ivanka Trump takes off her mask after arriving in Cleveland for the first ever presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden at the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion at the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday, September 29, 2020.
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The audience at the first presidential debate was severely limited compared to the large audience typically used in debates promoting social distancing. COVID-19 testing and the wearing of masks were required for everyone in attendance.
Trump and his campaign staff, however, were late to be tested before the debate, and Wallace told Fox that the president's delay meant "there was a system of honor" for the test results.
More: The Trump Campaign for Women Voters: Let's go back to the "normal" prepandemic.
More: Mike Pence, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Grassley are in the line of successors. What if you get sick with COVID-19?
It is possible that the president and his inner circle were exposed to COVID-19 prior to the debate.
The president, top staff and advisors, including those who helped prepare the debate, have all tested positive for COVID-19. Trump announced a positive test result on October 2.
The President and many of those officials attended an event in the Rose Garden of the White House on September 26th at which Trump announced the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court. The event has since been hosted by public health experts, including the country's foremost infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, referred to as the "Superspreader" event.
The President's COVID-19 diagnosis and the ongoing pandemic prompted the Presidential Debate Commission to switch the second scheduled presidential debate on October 15 to a virtual format. Citing concerns about a virtual debate, Trump pulled back and the Commission canceled the debate.
The next presidential debate, originally the third debate, is scheduled for October 22nd and will be moderated by NBC correspondent Kristen Welker.
More: Contact tracking and visualization of those exposed to COVID-19 from the Trump outbreak
More: Trump's doctor, without addressing previous tests, says the president no longer poses a risk for transmitting COVID-19
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: COVID-19: Lara Trump plays with Chris Wallace over debate face masks

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