NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

Donald Trump says that he and Melania Trump have tested positive for SARS-CoV‑2

Hav­ing spent months utter­ly fail­ing to pro­tect Amer­i­cans from COVID-19 and com­plete­ly dis­re­gard­ing the guid­ance of pub­lic health experts, Don­ald Trump now finds him­self and his wife Mela­nia infect­ed with the virus with less than forty days to go until the end of vot­ing in the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, which has already been defined in almost every imag­in­able way by the pandemic.

COVID-19, the dis­ease caused by the virus, has already claimed 200,000 Amer­i­can lives. Mil­lions more have got­ten sick. Some have recov­ered, while a few (known as long-haulers), appear to be stuck with the illness.

Trump is now among their number.

“Tonight, @FLOTUS [First Lady of the Unit­ed States Mela­nia Trump] and I test­ed pos­i­tive for COVID-19. We will begin our quar­an­tine and recov­ery process imme­di­ate­ly. We will get through this togeth­er!” Trump tweet­ed at 9:54 PM Pacific/12:54 AM East­ern. (Just four hours pri­or to post­ing that tweet, Trump had revealed that his aide Hope Hicks had test­ed pos­i­tive for COVID-19.)

U.S. Navy Com­man­der Sean P. Con­ley, the Pres­i­den­t’s physi­cian, released a state­ment con­firm­ing the test result. The state­ment read:

“This evening I received con­fir­ma­tion that both Pres­i­dent Trump and First Lady Mela­nia Trump have test­ed pos­i­tive for the SARS-CoV­‑2 virus. The Pres­i­dent and First Lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home with­in the White House dur­ing their con­va­les­cence. 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 fur­ther developments.”

Tweet­ing and watch­ing tele­vi­sion are what con­sti­tute Trump’s main “duties”, by Trump’s own choos­ing and those can be done even by some­one who is bed rid­den, so in one sense, Con­ley’s expec­ta­tions are not far-fetched.

How­ev­er, to sug­gest that there will be no dis­rup­tion as a con­se­quence of this devel­op­ment is pre­pos­ter­ous. Don­ald and Mela­nia may not feel sick now; they may not be expe­ri­enc­ing any symp­toms at this moment. That does­n’t mean they nev­er will. And regard­less of how bad their cas­es of COVID-19 get, they can­not be around oth­er peo­ple. They will have to isolate/quarantine for weeks.

That means Trump can­not trav­el. He can­not appear at pre­vi­ous­ly sched­uled ral­lies. He can­not go to fundrais­ers like the one he was at last night in New Jer­sey. And he most cer­tain­ly can­not “debate” Joe Biden again — at least not in per­son. (There are two more pres­i­den­tial debates sched­uled, in addi­tion to the vice pres­i­den­tial debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris.)

There has arguably not been a threat to the health of the nation’s top offi­cial this grave since the assas­si­na­tion attempt against Ronald Rea­gan in 1981.

Many, many ques­tions remain unan­swered at this hour.

How long has Trump had the virus? Did he get it from Hope Hicks? Do Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell, Mark Mead­ows, Kayleigh McE­nany, Amy Coney Bar­rett, and oth­ers have it? What about Joe Biden, who was only a few feet away from Don­ald Trump in an audi­to­ri­um on Tues­day? (Biden and Trump did not shake hands or stand right next to each oth­er, but Biden was exposed nevertheless.)

Why was Trump per­mit­ted to trav­el to New Jer­sey when the White House knew of Hope Hicks’ pos­i­tive test ear­li­er today and of her symp­toms last night? Why did Kayleigh McE­nany con­duct a press brief­ing with­out men­tion­ing this?

While this is unques­tion­ably an omi­nous devel­op­ment, it is not a sur­pris­ing one. Don­ald Trump put his own health at risk and that of count­less oth­ers by fail­ing to mod­el the behav­iors pub­lic health experts have been telling Amer­i­cans are a require­ment to com­bat COVID-19, includ­ing mask-wear­ing, phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing, and not orga­niz­ing large gath­er­ings. The blood of hun­dreds of thou­sands of dead Amer­i­cans is on his hands. Trump’s con­duct has been monstrous. 

Now he is reap­ing what he has sown.

We at NPI do not wish ill­ness or death upon any­one; it’s against our moral code. We hope Don­ald and Mela­nia recov­er and live to wit­ness the reclaim­ing of Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy from their destruc­tive, neo­fas­cist regime.

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