Written at 9:00am. Americans woke to the news that Donald and Melania Trump have both tested positive for COVID-19. We are told they are isolating at the White House. Their illness follows that of staffer Hope Hicks, whose positivity was being reported late last night. Given the president’s cavalier attitude toward protective measures and his persistence in bringing unmasked people together in numbers, it was perhaps only a matter of time before he contracted the disease. Ronna McDaniel, the head of the Republican National Committee, also tested positive for the virus on Wednesday.
The stock market is falling, pundits are jabbering, and speculations about the outlook for Trump and the US itself are multiplying. Trump could end up with a very mild case of COVID and recover quickly; he could get very sick and die. He could be afflicted in a way that makes it unclear whether he is capable of governing. It’s even possible his illness is fake news.
In the meantime, we are brushing up on the rules of presidential succession. Suddenly, vice-president Pence, who has tested negative, is in the spotlight. The vice president has the power to invoke the 25th amendment if need be. He would also become president for the remainder of Trump’s term should the latter die.
As for the election: Americans are casting their ballots, even as the consequences of Trump’s reckless inaction on COVID mount. Trump’s chances of scoring a clear honest victory over Biden were dim already. The president’s on-going efforts to subvert voting, his failure to condemn white supremacy during Tuesday’s debate, and his ever-louder claims that the election will be a hoax: these are fearful, desperate strategies. Most citizens are intent on ridding themselves of his hateful, un-American leadership. Regardless of Trump’s fate, this latest blow to national order will undoubtedly drive more voters toward Biden.
Even now, Twitter is awash with speculation over whether Trump is really sick or using illness as a gambit to stay in power. If a takeover is afoot, Americans must do all they can to stay ahead of the curve. Never has a president been less trusted.
The nation could be in great danger.
At 5:35 pm. The president has left the White House for Walter Reed Hospital. He reportedly received an antibody cocktail from Regeneron (the CEO is an old friend) earlier in the day. The drug is not yet FDA-approved. The company’s stock began trending higher in after-hours trading.
CNN is reporting that the White House knew by yesterday morning that Hicks had tested positive, yet the president flew off for a fundraiser with a hundred people in New Jersey, and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany held a briefing that afternoon without disclosing the facts to those present or herself wearing a mask. It is being reported that the president delayed making his test results public for several hours last night, in order to first notify other Republican officials. He finally tweeted about having COVID at 1am this morning.