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Cleveland Clinic says enforcement of debate safety was job of Commission on Presidential Debates

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Posted at 10:01 PM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 22:01:19-04

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Clinic says it was not responsible for enforcing COVID-19 safety requirements at last week's presidential debate in Cleveland. Implementation and enforcement, according to the Clinic, fell on the Commission on Presidential Debates.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Clinic said it was responsible for providing advice to the Commission on Presidential Debates on how to create a safe environment.

The full statement:

“Cleveland Clinic serves as the Health Security Advisor to The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). Our responsibility is to provide advice to the CPD on how to create a safe and healthy environment for all individuals entering the debate halls.
"The guidelines we recommend are based on scientific data, guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and medical advice. Prior to the first debate, we worked closely with the CPD to create health and safety requirements. These are the same requirements that we have recommended be implemented at each of the other host sites. They include testing, social distancing, hand sanitizing, temperature checks and masking. Any questions regarding the recommendations and requirements, including their implementation and enforcement, should be directed to the CPD.”

News 5 has reached out to the CPD for comment.

The statement from the Cleveland Clinic comes five days after President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump announced they tested positive for COVID-19. White House officials reportedly have yet to state when the president last received a negative test.

Trump family did not wear masks

During last week's debate in Cleveland, most of Trump’s family members were seen not wearing masks during the presidential debate, even though they were required indoors for audience members, per the protocols established by the Cleveland Clinic.

RELATED: President's family was not wearing masks during presidential debate in Cleveland

Although the first lady and the president’s children Ivanka, Don Jr., Eric and Tiffany walked into the debate venue wearing a mask, they sat down and watched the debate without them.

'Honor system' for COVID-19 testing

The moderator from Tuesday’s presidential debate, Chris Wallace, said there was an “honor system” for both campaigns when it came to completing COVID-19 tests ahead of the event.

RELATED: ’Honor system’ for COVID-19 testing of campaign staff before presidential debate, moderator says

Wallace said when the president came into the hall last week to look at the stage set-up, “Members of the commission (on presidential debates) were not especially happy with the fact that the presidential party was not wearing a mask” during the walk-through.

President hospitalized three days later

Trump was hospitalized on Friday evening, nearly 18 hours after announcing on Twitter that he and wife Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus. He was released on Monday. It is unknown when he contracted the coronavirus, but many White House staffers have now reportedly been infected.

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