Rudy Giuliani's admittance to hospital with Covid-19 complicates Trump drive to challenge election

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Ben Riley-Smith
·4 min read
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Rudy Giuliani - Charles Krupa/AP
Rudy Giuliani - Charles Krupa/AP

Donald Trump’s attempts to challenge his election defeat have been further impeded after Rudy Giuliani, the lawyer leading the drive, was hospitalised with coronavirus.

Mr Giuliani, the former New York mayor and close confidant of the US president, was admitted to Georgetown University Hospital in Washington DC on Sunday night.

The 76-year-old was reportedly showing mild symptoms after his positive Covid-19 test as doctors monitored his health. Mr Trump said on Monday that Mr Giuliani did not have a temperature.

“Thank you to all my friends and followers for all the prayers and kind wishes,” Mr Giuliani tweeted on Sunday evening.

“I’m getting great care and feeling good. Recovering quickly and keeping up with everything.”

News of the diagnosis had been broken hours earlier by Mr Trump, who praised his lawyer for “working tirelessly” contesting the election results in a tweet revealing the positive test. 

It makes Mr Giuliani the latest in a long list of Trump inner circle figures who have caught Covid-19 in recent months.

Mr Trump, his wife Melania and his sons Donald Jr and Barron have all caught coronavirus as have the president’s chief of staff, press secretary and other top aides.

Mr Giuliani made trips to Georgia, Arizona and Michigan last week as he pushed Mr Trump’s baseless claim to have actually won November's presidential election with members of state legislatures.

At points during his state visits Mr Giuliani was seen posing for photographs with supporters and shaking hands without wearing a face mask.

The Trump campaign said in a statement that Mr Giuliani had tested negative twice “immediately” before his trips to the three states.

The Arizona Senate will be closed this week amid fears others may have been infected.

The diagnosis brings new hurdles for Mr Trump’s faltering attempts to argue, without clear evidence, that the election victory was “stolen” from him.

Mr Giuliani has spearheaded Mr Trump’s drive to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s victory by arguing in court on the president's behalf, holding press conferences and lobbying state politicians.

With courts in battleground states repeatedly rejecting Trump campaign lawsuits alleging widespread voter fraud, focus has turned to Republican politicians in swing states.

It remained possible, at least in theory, that Republican-held state legislatures could decide to throw out Mr Biden’s victories and push to nominate Mr Trump as the next president.

However the window for that technical and controversial option is closing, with states legislatures approving Biden victories and time running out for the Trump campaign.

On December 14, next Monday, so-called ‘electors’ from each state are due in Washington DC to formally nominate the next president, ratifying Mr Biden’s victory.

Mr Trump, who has refused to concede the election or follow custom by inviting the president-elect Mr Biden to the White House, on Monday continued his defiance.

During a medal ceremony for a sports star Mr Trump said “I'm two and 0 and that's pretty good”, an inaccurate comment about his record in the two presidential elections. Mr Trump won the first in 2016 but lost in 2020.

The president was also upbeat about Mr Giuliani’s health, saying at the event shortly after noon: “I just spoke to him and he's doing very well. No temperature."

Mr Trump claimed that “big things” would be happening over the coming days in terms of his challenging of the election result, though did not give specifics.

The president has said he will leave office and hand over power to Mr Biden on January 20 if the election is certified for his rival, even if he continues to claim he was the real victor.

Meanwhile the Trump administration is preparing to roll out a Covid-19 vaccine as around 200,000 new cases are confirmed each day, a figure around three times higher than the summer wave peak.

US officials are hoping to get the coronavirus vaccine to as many as 24 million people by mid-January. Emergency authorisation for at least one of the vaccines could come from US drug regulators later this week.