President’s COVID-19 Diagnosis Raises Questions, Sparks Skepticism, Anger
WASHINGTON—Donald J. Trump never fails to excite the world of politics.
Mr. Trump, still likely carrying the deadly Covid-19 virus, triumphantly returned to the White House, discarded his mask and declared over Twitter he was doing well and possibly immune to the deadly virus.
After three days at Walter Reed military hospital, the president landed on the South Lawn of the White House via helicopter Oct. 5. He was admitted after he and first lady Melania Trump were struck by the virus. It’s suspected that a mass infection resulted from a mostly mask-less, crowded “super spreader” event during an announcement of the president’s pick for the Supreme Court. The White House became a coronavirus hot spot with high level staffers, lower level workers, senators, a university president and other high profile guests, presidential debate coaches, journalists working at the White House and others who have been in close proximity to the president or aides testing positive for Covid-19.
The president also participated in a fund raising event at his Bedminster, N.J. golf resort on Oct. 1, after he reportedly already knew he was infected. It’s feared that more Covid-19 cases will come out of that trip and there were questions about whether the president was covid-positive during his Sept. 27 debate with Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden.
The president was condemned for leaving the hospital early and staging photo ops, complete with the helicopter ride, while downplaying a pandemic that has devastated families and unended American society.
“Now I’m better, maybe I’m immune, I don’t know,” said the president in a Twitter video posted shortly after his White House arrival. “But don’t let (Covid-19) dominate your lives. Get out there, be careful, we have the best medicines in the world and it all happened very shorty and they’re all getting approved. And the vaccines are coming momentarily,” said the president.
He didn’t mention the more than 210,000 Americans who have died from the disease more than seven million Americans infected with Covid-19. He also didn’t mention that ordinary Americans don’t have helicopters to ferry them to special facilities with a bevy of doctors, experimental treatments and medical offices in their homes. The president of the United States, serviced by military doctors and any other experts needed, is no ordinary patient.
“We are in uncharted territory,” Dr. Greg Carr, Chair of the Department of African American Studies at Howard University, told The Final Call. “I mean it seems like a truism, but we, the entire public, don’t know who gave it to whom,” said Dr. Carr.
“So, I think what we are really facing is a couple of things. I think number one this just reinforces the indictment against this man, because he will have the best public health care in the country; health care that we could all have if we had the policy makers to make it happen,” Dr. Carr continued. “And this is going to be an indictment of all those who got sick or made transition during this period because of his inaction.”
Not to be forgotten is 2012 GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, a Black man, who died of coronavirus after attending a July Trump campaign event in Tulsa.
“This m—-r f—-r took his mask off for this photo-op. I didn’t think it was possible to be more disgusted and appalled by this demon. Y’all pray for the White House household staff…the superspreader just walked in with his mask still off! #TrumpCovid19 #COVIDIOT,” tweeted @BlackWomenViewsMedia.
CNN host Chris Cuomo called the president’s return and actions, “Bullshit.” “He’s a covidiot. … He disrespected the presidency,” added the news show host, who survived a bout with Covid-19. “You saw him tonight, highly contagious, he had to be,” Mr. Cuomo added. “I’m upset because so many of you contact me sick and desperate and scared and I can do nothing. And this man who could do everything does nothing.”
At first, the White House was vague about how severe the president’s case of covid was. But throughout the day, before he was transported to the medical facility, Donald and Melania Trump’s symptoms were described as “mild,” then “moderate.”
By the end of the day Oct. 2, Mr. Trump was being administered oxygen and was to be hospitalized at Walter Reed for “a few days,” according to the White House.
On Sunday, Oct. 4, Mr. Trump angered his critics as well as retired Secret Service officers when he took a motorcade ride outside the hospital grounds to wave at groups who had gathered to support him, potentially exposing the agents in the vehicle in which he was riding to danger.
Several prominent people online, including Chance the Rapper and filmmaker Michael Moore, quickly suspected Mr. Trump was lying about his coronavirus diagnosis in order to gain sympathy and fulfill his promise of an “October surprise.”
But Mary Trump, the niece of the president, said this country is “in the horrible place we’re in” because members of the Trump family, including the president, see illness as “a display of unforgivable weakness,” whether it is in themselves or others.
Speaking on NPR’s Fresh Air, Mary Trump, who recently published a tell-all book about her family, said: “That’s why we’re in the horrible place we’re in, because he cannot admit to the weakness of being ill or of other people being ill.”
That would be ironic, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan warned the President months before his illness was announced. “… because it would be the greatest irony, that you would die in office, from coronavirus,” the Muslim leader said in his address commemorating the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Nation of Islam in North America. “I’m not wishing that on you, but if I did, you’d have to worry,” Minister Farrakhan continued.
“I am the president of the United States. I can’t lock myself in a room,” Mr. Trump told the world through his attorney Rudolph Giuliani Oct. 3, concerning his decisions to openly campaign, flaunting his own government’s guidelines on how to control the pandemic. “I had to confront (the virus) so the American people stopped being afraid of it so we could deal with it responsibly. I had no choice,” he said.
“Because I just didn’t want to stay in the White House. I was given that alternative. Stay in the White House. Lock yourself in. Don’t ever leave. Don’t even go to the Oval Office. Just stay upstairs and enjoy it. Don’t see people. Don’t talk to people. And just be done with it,” Mr. Trump reportedly said.
“I think that you know, his ability to project a persona of strength has taken a major hit with this,” said Dr. Carr. “And I think that has real implications as they continue their plan, which has nothing to do with this sideshow.
“And let’s be very clear. This is a sideshow. I think they have multiple scenarios that they are planning, up to and including figuring out ways to steal the Electoral College by having one or more states withhold the final count of ballots.”
Couple that with ongoing condemnation of his mishandling of the federal response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has taken more than 210,000 lives in this country; to a place many considered the “rock bottom,” of his presidency—to put it mildly—to where he trails Mr. Biden by double-digits in most opinion polls.
In just one week, the impeached president of the United States and real estate tycoon went from defending himself from reports that he paid no taxes at all recently for 10 of 15 years, and only $750 each year in his first year in the White House and the year before that; to widespread condemnation of his abrasive debate performance against Democratic Party reelection rival Joe Biden, in which he constantly interrupted his opponent as well as moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News, and for his failure to publicly condemn his White supremacist supporters.
“Trump should not be understood as some kind of aberration or anomaly,” Umair Haque wrote recently for Medium.com. “Rather, he is the culmination of the three forces which have destroyed America from within, (and) left it a smoking ruin of a society: patriarchy, racism, and capital.”
Indeed, Republicans, 40 percent of the voting population and a majority of White Americans embrace the Trump White-tribal doctrine, according to Neil Buchanan, a professor of law at the University of Florida’s Levin School of Law.
White support for Mr. Trump is not because they’re happy to see the record numbers of young, conservative judges receiving lifetime appointments as federal judges, or because of the GOP’s tax cuts for the rich—“which I will call the slime-for-judges theory,” Prof. Buchanan told this writer in an interview for Washington radio station WPFW’s program “Monday Morning QB.”
“But that theory is wrong. The evidence instead leaves only one possible conclusion. Republicans simply like what Trump is, what he does, and the depths of bigoted authoritarianism to which he would take this country. Moreover, they never cared about the other stuff. They are not tolerating a repellent quid in order to get a delightful quo. It is win-win for them all the way down.”
Final Call staff contributed to this report.