By Mrinal Gokhale
It has been confirmed that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for COVID-19 and are experiencing “mild symptoms.”
Early in the morning of October 2nd, the president made the following Twitter post:
“TONIGHT, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”
This morning, the Journal Sentinel reported that Trump and his wife were quarantining on Thursday after White House aide Hope Hicks contracted the virus. The article stated that several White House employees have contracted the virus in the past, including a top spokesperson for Vice President Mike Pence. The Chicago Tribune reported that White House employees are in the process of getting tested and that Pence has tested negative.
During the first presidential debate this week, the subject of social distancing and mask wearing was discussed. Trump had stated that he only wears a mask “as needed” and ridiculed Biden’s use of masks – “he could be speaking 200 feet away shows with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”
Trump has also been heavily criticized for holding large in-person campaign events where masks weren’t mandated. He had told news outlets that he didn’t feel vulnerability to illness during these events.
The New York Times reported that several Democratic and Republican political strategists and senior aides believe Trump faces “harsh judgement” in relation to how he handled the pandemic and his positive test result.
The article quoted Republican consultant Rob Strutzman, who said: “It’s hard to imagine this doesn’t end his hopes of re-election.”
Democratic pollster Geoff Garin described Trump’s attitude towards the virus and pandemic as “dismissive” and predicts that even his supporters will feel misled by him. “Trump is now in the position of becoming exhibit No. 1 for the failure of his leadership on coronavirus,” he said.
To date, the coronavirus has killed more than 200,000 people in the United States.
As of now, Trump has cancelled all his upcoming in-person campaign events. It is not yet known whether the second Trump-Biden debate on October 15 will be cancelled.
Biden made the following Twitter post in response to the news of Trump’s diagnosis.
“Jill and I send our thoughts to President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump for a swift recovery. We will continue to pray for the health and safety of the president and his family.”