Cain has consistently downplayed the threat of the coronavirus over the course of the pandemic.
ATLANTA (CN) — Herman Cain, a former 2012 Republican presidential candidate who attended President Trump’s comeback rally in Oklahoma last month, has been hospitalized in Atlanta after testing positive for Covid-19.
“We are sorry to announce that Herman Cain has tested positive for Covid-19, and is currently receiving treatment in an Atlanta-area hospital,” his Twitter account posted Thursday. “Please keep him, and all who are battling this virus, in your prayers.”
Cain, co-chair of Black Voices for Trump, attended the president’s June 20 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and did not wear a mask. But Dan Calabrese, an editor at HermanCain.com, said it is unclear how he contracted the virus. According to a statement on Cain’s website, the Republican “did a lot of traveling the past week.”
“I don’t think there’s any way to trace this to the one specific contact that caused him to be infected,” Calabrese said. “We’ll never know.”
Cain has consistently downplayed the threat of the coronavirus over the course of the pandemic, tweeting on June 12: “Don’t believe the scare stories. A serious look at the numbers tells you there’s no second wave starting.”
Commentary posted to his website the same day said: “Don’t be scared to go out and live your lives. And if you’re finding that difficult, let me suggest turning off the news and spending more time loving your neighbor instead.”
Cain, 74, served as CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and went on to become president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. He entered the world of politics in 1996, serving as a senior adviser to Republican Bob Dole in his unsuccessful presidential campaign.
After a short-lived presidential campaign in 2000, Cain ran for Zell Miller’s vacant U.S. Senate seat in Georgia in 2004 but did not make it out of the primaries.
Cain launched another presidential campaign in 2011, seeking the Republican Party’s nomination to challenge incumbent President Barack Obama the following year.
He was known for a proposal he called the 9-9-9 tax plan – which called for a 9% personal income tax, 9% federal sales tax, and a 9% corporate tax – but he dropped out of the race in December 2011 after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment.
Cain withdrew from consideration for the Federal Reserve Board last year after the harassment allegations resurfaced, but he has remained in the public eye as a contributor for the conservative outlet Newsmax. He also has an active presence on Twitter, where he has more than 500,000 followers.
According to the statement on Cain’s website, he has not needed a respirator and has been using his cellphone. He has continued to post tweets since being hospitalized.
On Wednesday night, Cain posted a story about a Planned Parenthood lawsuit in Iowa in a tweet that said, “Anything that angers Planned Parenthood is probably a good idea.”
Cain was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in 2006, but announced he was cancer-free the following year.
“You all know the Herman you see on TV, or hear giving speeches, or whose columns you read,” Calabrese said. “You know of his love for our country and his passion for ideas and solutions. You’ve heard much of what he’s shared of his own life experiences. We know the guy who’s led this team with focus and determination through plenty of highs and lows and has been extremely good to all of us throughout the whole thing. He’s our boss. We love him.”
Representatives for Cain did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.