Life in the Time of COVID-19: Is Trump the ‘Patient-in-Chief’ or the ‘Faker-in-Chief’?
As the U.S. marks yet another COVID-19-related milestone – as of 5:23 PM Eastern, the nation has 7,449,845 confirmed cases of patients with the novel coronavirus and 210,079 deaths, thus cementing the unwelcome title of the world’s worst-hit nation in this global pandemic that has affected over 35 million people and killed 1,039,120 men, women, and children since the outbreak began last November in the city of Wuhan, China.
As I wrote in a recent Life in the Time of COVID-19 post:
Viruses are not particularly choosy when it comes to who gets infected and who does not; who gets symptoms and who does not; or who lives or who dies from the effects of the virus’ unwanted and unwelcome presence in one’s body. COVID-19 is not sentient, and it doesn’t care about your political or religious affiliation, your social status, or how big your bank account is. It is a force of nature; a Baltimore-class IV positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus, a successor virus to the SARS-CoV-1 strain that caused the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2003-2004.
Unless you have been stranded on a remote deserted island in the South Pacific without a laptop and a reliable Wi-Fi connection, you doubtlessly know that President Donald J. Trump allegedly has been diagnosed as having become one of many U.S. political leaders to be infected by the COVID-19 virus. I say allegedly because his behavior and the inconsistencies in reports by the White House medical staff – which traditionally is comprised mostly of U.S. Navy doctors – regarding the President’s condition, the treatments he has received (at the taxpayers’ expense), and his continued downplaying of the effects of the virus for both personal and political reasons.
Considering that COVID-19 is a contagious viral airborne disease that is transmitted from human to human through the acts of sneezing, coughing, speaking, or singing, and taking into account that many White House staff members and close associates of the President have been diagnosed with COVID in recent days, it stands to reason that Mr. Trump should be under a strict quarantine for two weeks, regardless of his current position as Commander-in-Chief.
President Donald Trump’s condition is continuing to improve as he fights a coronavirus infection, doctors say, and he will be discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday evening.
Doctors also reported that Trump, over the course of exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, had earlier experienced two episodes of “transient drops” in his oxygen saturation.
Yet the president was feeling well enough Sunday evening to briefly leave Walter Reed for a surprise drive-by, waving to supporters outside the hospital.
Administration member Judd Deere subsequently put out a statement saying that, “President Trump took a short, last-minute motorcade ride to wave to his supporters outside and has now returned to the Presidential Suite inside Walter Reed.”
Who the hell would do such an irresponsible and dangerous stunt like that if he or she has COVID-19 viruses in his or her system and is undergoing treatment?
Most people with a sense of decency and an iota of common sense surely would not.
But Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, thinks that his job title and his alleged wealth allow him to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, even if people get sick or even die. (Herman Cain could probably give testimony about this if he were alive, but gosh, no. He died on July 30, a month and 10 days after catching COVID-19 at a Trump campaign rally in Tulsa on June 20.)
Further on down in the ABC News story, Haworth and Zarrell write:
Meanwhile, numerous questions remain about how many people at the highest levels of government had been exposed to the virus after a week of events involving the president where social distancing and mask-wearing were lax in the White House and elsewhere.
In a related CNN story, Trump irresponsibly continues downplaying Covid-19 as he tweets he will leave the hospital, writers Kevin Liptak and Maeve Reston write:
President Donald Trump says he’s leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after spending three nights in the hospital being treated for coronavirus, an experience he recklessly downplayed in a message announcing his discharge.
“Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life,” Trump wrote, even as his doctors warned he wasn’t yet “out of the woods.” The building he’s returning to has become a center for viral contagion — in part because of disregard for mitigation measures.
The message was jarring not only because it was irresponsible but that it came from a current coronavirus patient who has experienced serious symptoms of the disease and whose recovery has included experimental treatments unavailable to most Americans.
Trump said a day earlier he now “understood” the virus which has killed more than 200,000 Americans. But his message Monday seemed more in the line with his longstanding practice of denying the pandemic’s severity and downplaying its risks.
And if this wasn’t bad enough, many Americans – and others around the world – are beginning to think that the former reality TV host and PR-manipulating real estate mogul who now is the President of the United States might not even be sick, but that he is faking it for political and public relations reasons.
In Yahoo Sports – hardly a hotbed of liberal propaganda – writer Joe Price observes in People Are Calling Out Trump for What Appears to Be Staged Photos at Walter Reed Hospital that the U.S. – and the world – are being played by the man that many call “Don the Con”:
On Saturday, the White House released photos that claimed to show President Donald Trump working from Walter Reed military hospital after contracting COVID-19. Trump tested positive for the virus on Friday and was taken to the hospital; He’s since stayed there two nights thus far. The photos of him “working” from the hospital were shared by Ivanka Trump, who wrote, “Nothing can stop him from working for the American people.”
It didn’t take long for people to cast doubt that Trump was actually working in the photos, however, as the metadata appears to show the two photos, which include Trump sitting at different tables, were taken only ten minutes apart. The EXIF data embedded in the photos that were shared to Associated Press pretty much confirmed this, and people have already called out the Trump administration for it.
Jon Ostrower, editor-in-chief of The Air Current, first pointed out the data that was embedded in the photos. “The photos released by the WH tonight of the president working at Walter Reed were taken 10 minutes apart at 5:25:39 pm and 5:35:40 pm ET Saturday, according to the EXIF data embedded in both AP wire postings that were shared by the White House this evening,” he wrote on Saturday.
So, Dear Reader, to this former journalism student, the President’s COVID-19 drama has two possible narratives.
The first narrative is one in which President Trump is really sick from the novel coronavirus but is being irresponsible and reckless because, you know, he’s Donald Trump, and he’ll do what he wants, even if other people have to suffer.
The other narrative is one in which Trump, having been at the center of a whole bunch of negative stories involving the brouhaha over his tax records, his unconvincing and bullying performance at the first Presidential debate with Democratic candidate Joe Biden, and his son Eric. being told to appear in court over serious legal matters concerning the Trump Organization, created a scenario in which he suddenly got sick with COVID-19, but was treated so well and so quickly that doctors disregarded the usual COVID-19 protocols and are releasing him back to the White House 11 days ahead of the required 14-day-long quarantine period.
I am not sure which story I believe. I could go either way, considering Trump’s past behavior and long history of making up wild stories, such as his claim that he saw thousands of American Muslims cheering in New Jersey as the World Trade Center burned and collapsed in Manhattan on September 11, 2001. (No such thing occurred in New Jersey, folks.)
If Trump is sick but recovering, and yet insists on leaving Walter Reed to return to the White House, he is playing with fire.
And if he’s faking? Well, then he truly deserves the nickname “Don the Con.”