Hello there, Dear Reader. It’s almost noon on Friday, October 2, 2020 as I begin this post, and in my small corner of Florida it is almost noon on a somewhat mild autumn day. Currently, the temperature is 77˚F (25˚C) under partly sunny skies. With the wind blowing from the north-northeast at 6 MPH/10 KPH and humidity at 65%, the feels-like temperature is also 77˚F (25˚C). Today’s forecast calls for a high of 83˚F (28˚C), lots of humidity, and partly cloudy skies. Tonight, skies will be mostly cloudy, and the low temperature is expected to be 69˚F (21˚C).
I’m sure that by now you’ve heard the announcement from the White House that President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and former White House staffer – and long-time Trump confidante – Hope Hicks have all tested positive for the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. As I understand it from what I’m reading on various news sites, the White House announced the news about Hicks – who was Trump’s first White House Communications Director – first. This was soon followed by a report – made by Trump himself on Twitter after midnight – that the President and his wife tested positive after being tested last night.
Per the report Trump And First Lady Have ‘Mild Symptoms’ After Testing Positive For The Coronavirus by National Public Radio staffers Tamara Keith, Ayesha Rascoe, Mark Katkov, Alana Wise, and Frank Ordoñez:
The country was put on edge overnight as President Trump announced that he and the first lady have tested positive for the coronavirus, a stunning announcement that raises concerns about their health and throws the final stretch of the presidential campaign — already upended by the pandemic — even further into unknown territory.
Trump plans to continue carrying out his duties but is expected to remain home for two weeks, canceling campaign events as doctors watch him at the White House.
Trump is 74, an age that makes him more vulnerable to the virus. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters Friday that the president has “mild symptoms.”
The NPR article goes on to say:
In a memo dated Oct. 1, White House physician Sean Conley confirmed that Trump and his wife had tested positive for the virus on Thursday.
“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,” he said. He added that he and the White House team will maintain a “vigilant watch” over the Trumps.
The president had a campaign rally planned for Florida on Friday and two in Wisconsin, which is seeing a spike of cases, on Saturday.
Naturally, this turn of events, coming only a few weeks before Election Day (Tuesday, November 3) is causing a ripple effect, calling into question if Trump can sustain his reelection campaign from behind the confines of the White House, and sending a chilling effect on the stock market.
So far, Trump has already canceled two of his trademark MAGA/KAG rallies that were scheduled for today and tomorrow. He was already reported as feeling “lethargic” at an event last night (before the news broke about the President and First Lady’s diagnosis), and since he is the oldest man ever elected to the Presidency, his health status is now causing much speculation about his prospects for November.
Per Bill Chapell’s NPR report, ‘Contentious’ Scenarios Arise For Ballot And Presidency If Trump’s Health Declines:
President Trump’s positive coronavirus test has set off contingency possibilities that center on some key questions: What if COVID-19 renders the president incapable of executing the duties of his office? How would that affect the government – and the election that is now just one month away?
“There are some significant concerns if things were to worsen,” says John Fortier, the former executive director of the Continuity of Government Commission, a group set up in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the U.S.
Some scenarios are clear, such as the president possibly invoking the 25th Amendment to briefly transfer power to Vice President Pence, as many presidents have done with their second-in-command before an elective surgery. But others are very murky.
“What would be a little harder is if the president got sick enough that he wasn’t able to make the determination,” Fortier tells NPR.
Further on down in the report, Chapell writes:
Many people never develop symptoms after being infected by the coronavirus. But the seriousness of the disease is raising questions about what might happen if the 74-year-old president, whose age and weight put him at increased risk, falls seriously ill. What would happen, for instance, if he spends time in intensive care as U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson – who is roughly 20 years younger than Trump — did earlier this year during his bout with COVID-19.
The U.S. system has several layers of escalation for such circumstances, Fortier says.
If a president is too ill to make a determination about their health, he says, “There’s still a provision in the Constitution where you can have the vice president, a majority of the Cabinet, say it’s time for the vice president to take over.”
The most contentious situation, Fortier says, would emerge if the president thinks otherwise.
“Congress might have to decide whether to keep the president on, or to keep the vice president,” he says. “So it could go further down the line, but, you know, that would be the more extreme version.”
Meanwhile, the New York Stock Exchange plunged downward 168 points before noon today, although it rallied back to 27,783.46 −33.44 (0.12%) by 12:30 PM.
And, on Facebook…..
So far, on Congressman Charlie Crist’s (D-FL) page (he’s not my representative, but I follow him anyway), the former Republican governor writes:
Our thoughts and prayers are with the President, the First Lady, and their staff. This virus is incredibly transferable, no one is exempt. Until there’s a vaccine, our best defense is to continue to mask up, social distance, and follow CDC guidelines.
But, as always, the pulse of the constituency can be taken in the comments section below Rep. Crist’s statement.
Here’s what one skeptical Facebook member had to say in the comments section:
A.C.: I swear it is a lie! Here’s the thing, I don’t think Trump has Covid. I think he has a couple of things planned through this new lie: 1. To get out of the debates
2. To tell people Covid isn’t that bad when he was already caught and recorded, admitting he already lied about it not being severe
3. To get sympathy votes
I can’t help but wonder if this is just another of his lies. If it’s true and he really is positive he might be rethinking his disregard for all the appropriate guidelines.
Crist you’re thoughts and prayers are with Trumps. My prayers and compassion are firmly focused on the families and friends of those of the over 200,000 people who have lost loved ones because of Trumps ignorance and lack of compassion and leadership.
Anyone else remember the green jacket that said…
“I REALLY DON’T CARE.
How prophetic Me”lame”ia,
NO. WE. DON’T.
And on Twitter?
Well, I’ll just leave these screenshots from Trump’s tweet up without comment: