Donald Trump and Melania Trump have contracted Coronavirus. Trump announced his diagnosis on Twitter, almost a month before the election, in the middle of a pandemic. After months of downplaying the virus, which has killed over 200 thousand people, Trump and his wife are currently in quarantine at the White House. After an abysmal presidential debate, this announcement comes conveniently where Trump mocked Joe Biden for frequently wearing a mask.
“I put a mask on when I think I need it…but Every time you see him [Biden], he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from it. And he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”
Biden responded, “Masks make a big difference. His own head of the CDC said if we just wore masks between now — if everybody wore a mask and social distanced between now and January, we would probably save up to a hundred thousand lives. It matters.”
As expected, Trump is revising his schedule canceling upcoming fundraisers and campaign rallies while in quarantine. It is unknown if he will cancel the debate scheduled for October 15th but is likely even if he tests negative after 14 days. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Trump has repeatedly downplayed the virus, often at odds with doctors and scientists on his team. He has offered bizarre explanations, solutions, and theories about the virus over the past few months, from initially calling it “fake news”, to suggesting the use of disinfectant and UV lights as an effective form of treatment.
“So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous – whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you [Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Response coordinator] said that hadn’t been checked, but you’re going to test it. And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside of the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you’re going to test that too. Sounds interesting,” And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? “So it’d be interesting to check that.” –Trump coronavirus press conference 4/23/20
Trump is frequently seen without a mask or practicing social distancing guidelines suggested by the CDC, often criticized for still holding massive campaign rallies. Concerns about his ability to effectively do his job with Coronavirus increased because Trump is considered high risk at age 74 and obese. Trump’s physician, Sean P. Conley, released a statement to the media confirming the diagnosis, stating, “The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our country’s greatest medical professionals and institutions. Rest assured, I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any future developments.”
Should Trump be unable to perform presidential duties, Mike Pence would serve as President until Trump was healthy again. However, Pence was also potentially exposed to the virus. Should they both be unable to perform duties, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, would be next in line. Reports suggest Trump, Pence, and others were exposed to the virus after one of his aides, Hope Hicks, tested positive for COVID-19. News of the diagnosis sent social media buzzing with many wondering how it affects his election chances and some even questioning the diagnosis’s validity, wondering if it is a smokescreen to distract voters from Trump’s debate performance. Many categorized the debate as “the worst in history.”
Trump is not the first in the White House to test positive for Coronavirus with several staffers contracting the virus over the past few months. It is a statistic surely to be on the American people’s mind as they head to the polls. If Trump can’t control Coronavirus’s spread in the White House, many question his ability to contain the spread in the United States, which has reported over 7 million cases and over 200,00 deaths. The United States currently has some of the highest COVID-19 cases worldwide.
Danielle Sanders is a writer and journalist living in Chicago. Find her on social media @daniesandersofficial.