President Donald Trump earlier on Friday disclosed that he and the first Lady Melania have contracted the COVID-19, an extraordinary news coming in the final stretch of his reelection campaign as he along with his family remained safe for months until now since the pandemic breakout in US. The Republican during the campaign has consistently defied the expert opinion on preventing the spread of infection.
The diagnosis comes up with the most serious known health threat to a sitting US President in decades. Trump a Septuagenarian at 74 is old and obese and sails in the highest risk category exposed to serious complications attributed to the deadly disease which has claimed lives of more than 200,000 US citizens. In already deteriorating political climate, fraught economic outlook as stock market futures slumped on the news of his vulnerable health after the diagnosis of virus.
“Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!” Trump tweeted shortly before 1am Friday. This was followed by first Lady confirming through a tweet that she and her husband are “feeling good.” Trump last made a public appearance on Thursday afternoon in New Jersey where he attended a fundraising drive. Returning to WH, he did not appear ill though he would not speak to reporters as entered his residence.
In a memo issued to reporters around 1am ET, the President’s physician, Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley, wrote he received the positive test reports on Thursday evening.
“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,” Conley wrote.
“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,” Conley wrote, without elaborating what assistance was being provided to the White House.
“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,” he wrote.
The President on late Thursday night said that he had decided to quarantine after one of his top aides, Hope Hicks was identified with coronavirus bringing the pandemic into his closest circle. Earlier in the night, Trump once again tried to belittle the spread of the disease.
“The end of the pandemic is in sight,” he uttered in prerecorded statement at the annual Al Smith dinner, held virtually as part of the COVID-19 restrictions in country.
While the WH administration under the President frequently boasts of its strict screening regiment for its key inmate and those who have contact with him – aides have touted him as the most “tested man in the US – the infections have highlighted the shortcoming on part of the administration that relied on testing alone to stem the spread of the virus. Trump and many of his assistants have flouted the COVID-19 SOPs as they frequently violated the social distancing practices and appeared with bare faces while interacting with Public. Trump on Tuesday evening mocked his Democratic challenger and former VP Joe Biden for wearing a mask when going in public.
After announcing the President’s diagnosis, his administration released a new schedule as they scrubbed several campaign events due to happen on Friday including a rally in Florida and a fundraiser in Washington. The events cancelled were the immediate effects of the campaign-denting diagnosis. Trump and his campaign aides have constantly attempted to paint their blunders as a success during the last couple of months as the situation worsened in US. The Republican has reiterated that that US is “rounding the corner” on the virus and claimed it would vanish while his own health advisers said those claims were far form reality.
His administration’s narrative that the disease has started to die down and is “disappearing” has proved to be a mere eyewash after catching the virus and potentially infecting those who are into close proximity with him. Trump repeatedly expressed his will to reopen schools and economy and has in recent addresses blasted the Democratic governors for not cooperating to lift he lockdown. The Republican feared that push to reopen the businesses could be jeopardized if his aides came in contract with the contagion. Earlier in the spring, the President questioned how one his valets attending him could have contacted him. The WH has since adopted extensive testing regimen going to lengths to ensure the safety of President and his deputy Mike Pence.
Hope Hicks Diagnosis
Ms. Hicks who serves as President’s top adviser and accompanies him during his campaign rallies has earlier contracted the contagion. Trump on Thursday night immediately broke the news of her getting infected with corona and announced that he and wife Melania are in quarantine after the diagnosis of Hicks. The 31-Year old aide earlier this week, travelled with him on Air Force One to attend a TV debate in Ohio.
Trump tweeted: “Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for COVID-19. Terrible! The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!”
The President in a Fox news interview suggested that Hicks could have caught the disease from a supporter.
“She’s a very warm person. She has a hard time, when soldiers and law enforcement come up to her, you know, she wants to treat them great, not say, ‘Stay away, I can’t get near you.’ It’s a very, very tough disease,” he said.
A source close to the former model said that she is still experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is currently self-isolated in Washington.
“The President takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously,” White House spokesman Judd Deere told CNN in a statement when questioned about the proximity between Hicks and his boss Trump.
WH made no mention of the aide’s name, nor did it confirm she had caught the virus.
“White House Operations collaborates with the Physician to the President and the White House Military Office to ensure all plans and procedures incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible both on complex and when the President is traveling,” Deere added.