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Trump’s efforts to project normalcy run into reality as virus courses through the White House, the Capitol and the Pentagon.

President Trump’s efforts to project normalcy after being hospitalized with Covid-19 a month before Election Day ran into a major stumbling block on Tuesday: the reality on the ground in Washington, where the coronavirus outbreak has upended the federal government.

  • The White House, the leading coronavirus hot spot in the nation’s capital, resembled a ghost town, with its most famous inhabitant convalescing in the residence, as a number of advisers and other officials stayed home, either because they had contracted the coronavirus or had been near people who did, including the press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, who announced on Monday that she had tested positive.

  • The Capitol, a beehive workplace for 535 legislators and thousands of staff, was eerily empty on Tuesday after Senate leaders agreed to adjourn for two weeks beginning Monday, even as Republicans are trying to fast-track Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court. More than 40 senators, along with more than a dozen congressional aides and reporters, have been tested for the coronavirus since late last week, officials said on Tuesday. Three Republican senators — Mike Lee of Utah, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — have tested positive in recent days.

  • Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with several of the Pentagon’s most senior uniformed leaders, was quarantining after being exposed to the coronavirus, a Defense Department official said on Tuesday. The official said almost the entirety of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including Gen. James C. McConville, the Army chief of staff, are quarantining after Adm. Charles Ray, the vice commandant of the Coast Guard, tested positive for coronavirus.

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Ex-Virginia House speaker files papers to run for governor

RICHMOND, Va. — Former Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox has filed paperwork with the state to run for governor next year, joining a small field of Republicans looking to enter the race.

Cox, a retired school teacher who has served in the House of Delegates since 1990, on Wednesday filed a “statement of organization” to establish a campaign committee. Cox said he will not formally enter the race until after the presidential election in November.

Cox, 63, was elected as speaker in 2018, but lost that role after Democrats won a majority in both the House and Senate in November. He announced in August that he was seriously considering a run for governor, citing what he called a “vacuum of leadership” created by Democrats.

Cox has criticized Democrats during the current special legislative session, which was called by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam to deal with the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic and to consider dozens of criminal justice and police reforms in the wake of the killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis. Cox has characterized some of the police reforms as “anti-law enforcement.”

In a written statement released Thursday, Cox said the special session has convinced him “that Republicans not only need to put forward a strong candidate that can actually win statewide, but also a series of ideas and policies that will improve lives and livelihoods.”

Cox has strong pro-business and anti-abortion credentials, but also helped push through Medicaid expansion, which conservatives opposed.

Firebrand conservative state Sen. Amanda Chase has announced she’s running for governor. Northern Virginia businessman Pete Snyder may also run.

Republicans have not won a statewide race in Virginia since 2009. Several Democrats, including former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, have either announced they are running or have indicated they might. Virginia law