President Donald Trump and first lady Melania have tested positive for the coronavirus. A staggering announcement after Trump and his administration spent the past six months downplaying the severity of the pandemic that has now claimed the lives of over 200,000 Americans. Trump just recently poked fun at Joe Biden during the first presidential debate for always wearing a mask, days before announcing his diagnosis.
Trump has adamantly and publicly shared his beliefs that the coronavirus “would disappear and die out,” despite the fact that it continues to infect millions of individuals worldwide. Trump and Melania both took to Twitter on Monday to share the news with the world.
“Tonight,@FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”
Sean Conley, the physician to the president, recently released a memo claiming that the president and first lady are both still doing well at this time, and the White House medical team will be “maintaining a vigilant watch” on the two as the president continues to carry out his duties in office.
Trump has since cancelled his busy schedule of in-person events that were geared to begin this Friday, which included a roundtable discussion with a group of his supporters at the Trump hotel in DC. According to guidelines from the US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Trump is at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus due to his age, 74, and the fact that he’s medically overweight. A majority of the individuals who have died due to the virus in the US have been over the age of 50.
Should something happen to the president in the coming weeks, the Constitution’s 25th amendment states that the vice president, Mike Pence, would take over his responsibilities as “acting president.” Pence himself has been getting tested for Covid daily, and as of Friday October 2nd, he remains negative.
Many were quick to take to social media to express their lack of sympathy for the president’s diagnosis, especially considering he’s been holding massive indoor campaign rallies despite his own administration’s policies against them. Those rallies led to spikes in case numbers in their given areas to no one’s surprise after images from the events showed little to no social distancing occurring and barely any facial coverings in the crowd. Joe Biden took to Twitter on Friday morning to wish Trump well on his recovery:
“Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery. We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family.”
Trump has also been getting tested regularly since the pandemic first began impacting the US in March. It was that same month that Trump played down the threat of the virus, despite almost every other country in the world completely shutting down in response to its initial spread. In an interview published by Bob Woodward this month, it was revealed that Trump knew what he was doing in terms of downplaying the virus’ threat, claiming that he “wanted to always play it down because [he] didn’t want to create a panic.”
Daily Covid-19 briefings occurred from March to April but then ended abruptly after Trump became fixated on using chemical disinfectants and ultraviolet light as a treatment for humans. His focus also remained solely on reopening the economy, hence the multitude of businesses and events that have remained open and occurring all summer despite the massive amounts of healthcare workers urging Americans to just stay home and wear a mask. He insisted that the rising number in Covid cases in the US was due to an increase in testing, and claimed that if we stopped testing people as often as we were, the case numbers would go down.
Trump also was adamant about making sure all schools and universities reopened for the fall semester, despite the fact that his administration shut down all schooling in March after only a couple thousand cases appeared. If anything, the president’s diagnosis should be a massive wake up call to all Americans that this pandemic is no where close to over, and with an election coming up in November, it’s essential to think about the people you want making policies on all levels of government (local, state, federal).
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.