Yet Trump has the audacity to tell Americans the virus is no biggie. No doubt the families of the 209,000 dead are greatly reassured.
Trump, his doctors say, appears to be recovering. His administration, however, has had so many recurrences of old pathologies in the past four days that it looks like a terminal case.
Recklessness. The White House ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, held in violation of public health guidelines, has made the White House, Trump campaign and Senate Republican caucus look like a nursing home in the early days of the pandemic. On Monday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and various junior White House officials joined a list of the infected that includes Trump’s wife, his campaign manager, three Republican senators and several other senior Trump advisers.
Incompetence. Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, contradicted the president’s doctor about Trump’s prognosis. White House officials complain about a lack of direction. Meadows allies attempt Al Haig-like assertions that he’s running the government. “Where are the adults?” a former Secret Service member asked The Post after Trump jeopardized the lives of his security detail by forcing them to take him driving Sunday.
Lies. Trump’s White House physician destroyed his own credibility, misleading the public about the president’s health and omitting crucial information. “I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, that his course of illness has had,” he explained when caught. Trump reportedly didn’t disclose his first positive coronavirus test and told one adviser who had tested positive, “Don’t tell anyone.” Even in the hospital he has deceived the public, with staged photos showing the illusion of business as usual.
Above all, we’ve seen Trump’s arrogant disregard for others. He and his lieutenants jeopardized the health of Democratic nominee Joe Biden and others at the debate when Trump’s family and aides broke the rules and took off their masks. He put supporters in Minnesota and donors in New Jersey at risk when he knew, or had reason to suspect, that he and those around him had been exposed.
The recklessness in the White House (McEnany, when she was supposed to quarantine, instead briefed reporters without wearing a mask) has spread the virus to journalists and members of the White House housekeeping staff (who’ve reportedly been told to keep quiet).
Biden respectfully pulled his negative ads after Trump’s diagnosis, but Trump is having Vice President Pence continue holding crowded, maskless campaign events, while Trump has been firing off all-caps tweets and political attacks from his hospital bed.
And of course there was Trump’s joyride to greet supporters outside Walter Reed, endangering health-care workers and the Secret Service. “Commanded by Trump to put their lives at risk for theater,” is how one attending physician at Walter Reed put it.
Trump, who once tweeted that a doctor who went out in public after a potential Ebola exposure “is a very SELFISH man,” has set a new standard for selfishness. And his appointees abuse their positions of public trust to validate the president’s contempt for others.
Sean Conley, the White House physician, wearing his white coat with other doctors outside Walter Reed on Monday afternoon, refused to say when Trump last tested negative — vital information to the Biden campaign and many others potentially exposed. “I don’t want to go backwards,” he said.
Conley also declined to say what quarantine controls would guarantee others’ safety at the White House. He refused to provide details about Trump’s lungs — crucial details four weeks before Election Day. He dismissed any concern about the man with the nuclear codes taking a steroid medication that can increase irritability and impulsivity and induce psychosis.
As for Trump telling people not to fear covid-19, Conley said: “I’m not going to get into what the president says.” If he were looking out for the American public’s well-being and not Trump’s political well-being, he would have given a different answer.
After the past four days, it’s fair to ask: Why should we care about Trump when he obviously doesn’t care about us?