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Local Political Analyst Says President Trump's Health Could Impact His Re-election Campaign

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- President Donald Trump is not the first world leader to contract COVID-19. However, as Americans have already begun casting ballots for the general election, many are wondering how his diagnosis will impact the next 32 days.

"We have been fearing this moment for the last 7 months!" said Steven Portnoy, White House correspondent for CBS Radio and Vice President of the White House Correspondents Association.

He said the way President Trump will campaign has already changed.

"I traveled with the President 10 days ago to Pennsylvania, thousands of people clustered together," he said.

The President was supposed to take the West Coast next week and stay overnight in Las Vegas, Arizona, and Los Angeles. However, the Trump campaign announced all events will be postponed or virtual, and with just four weeks until the election, local political analysts said that will hurt him.

"The President is at his best when he's got a large audience that he can egg on and can egg him on. That's gone," said Michael Genovese, a political science professor at Loyola Marymount University.

"It could not have happened at a worse time," he said.

With former Vice President Joe Biden leading many polls, Genovese said Trump may have a hard time making up for this lost time.

"The election was Biden's to lose at this point," he said. "Trump was trying to catch up and it's going to be harder for him to catch up."

But, if Democrats don't play this correctly, it could hurt Biden's campaign too, Genovese added.

"You don't want to be seen trying to take advantage of someone else misfortune," he said.

As for the stance the President should take when he does speak of his own illness, Genovese said humility may work best.

"Trump has to show people that 'Yes, it was more serious than I thought and we have to take it more seriously.'" he said. "He has to turn a corner."

President Trump was supposed to hold a campaign event in Los Angeles next week. It is unclear if it will be canceled or proceed virtually.

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